On International Youth Day, the African Development Bank announces the enrolment of 130,000 users in its Coding for Employment digital skills program. The milestone comes as Coding for Employment works to equip African youth with information and communication technology, entrepreneurship and soft-skills training to compete in a digital economy. The program’s online platforms offer in-demand technical courses such as web development, design, data science and digital marketing – for free.
With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in lockdowns and school closures across the continent, the Coding for Employment platforms experienced dramatic increases in the number of users. During a one-week period in September 2020, registrations skyrocketed by 38.5%. Through the Bank’s partnership with the Government of Nigeria to launch the Digital Nigeria eLearning platform during the pandemic, Coding for Employment has hit a combined total of 130,000 students. Registered students are achieving a course completion rate of more than 80%. “To win the battle against poverty in Africa, we must equip our youth with digital skills that empower them for the jobs of the future,” said Martha Phiri, Director of the Bank’s Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development Department.
Students who took the online courses in the wake of Covid-19 in Africa said learning or honing digital skills helped them advance their careers. “During the lockdown period, I taught myself MS Excel, using the Coding for Employment platform. Participating in the training not only smoothed my rough Excel skills but also gave me the platform to network and push myself,” said program graduate Hajara Ayuba in Nigeria. “Thanks to the Coding for Employment program, I met one of the major criteria – data fluency and MS Excel skills – at my present NYSC place of primary assignment in Borno State Board of Internal Revenue Service. I was later retained in the job,” Ayuba added.
The Coding for Employment main digital training platform was launched in December 2019 in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and Microsoft. It is accessible on mobile devices, even in low internet connectivity settings and has an affordable, easy-to-navigate, secured and private interface. “The online training program started in tandem with the opening planned upgrade of physical Coding for Employment-branded Centers of Excellence piloted in Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire. The Bank aims to scale up to 130 centers across the continent in a decade.” “The pandemic accelerated the adoption of online learning as a necessity. Coding for Employment swiftly leveraged its online digital skills platform to continue to offer a gateway for African youth to become more digitally capable,” said Hendrina Chalwe Doroba, the Bank’s Division Manager for Education and Skills Development.
Following the pilot program, Coding for Employment online courses are now available in 45 countries. Some 300 beneficiaries, like Shaawanatu Shuaibu, linked Coding for Employment to getting jobs. Shuaibu a Coding for Employment program graduate from the Gombe State Center of Excellence in Nigeria, said the course had broadened her understanding of content writing. “I was able to organize the content of my CV, which secured me a call for an interview at Jaiz Bank Plc. My performance at the interview and fluency in communication got me posted to the Customer Service Unit of the Bank,” she added. Coding for Employment aims to create over 9 million jobs and reach 32 million youth and women across Africa. The Coding for Employment Program is part of the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Initiative
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