Microsoft SA partners with YES to deliver AI training

Microsoft South Africa and Youth Employment Service (YES) have joined forces to deliver an innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) training initiative that will see 300,000 young South Africans empowered with digital skills, fostering a future of innovation driving employability and economic growth.

The AI Youth Training Platform is an extension of a long-term relationship between Microsoft and YES which was recently lauded at Microsoft South Africa’s A New Era with AI event, that took place in Sandton, as a critical game changer amongst the more than 1 000 IT professionals and developers who are leading the charge on AI transformation within the country.

YES and Microsoft curated and developed bespoke training material, creating a training path that addresses the different levels of exposure to AI and computer science. The platform is designed to enable all young people to get access to, and awareness of AI – and be able to build skills from Novice through to Expert level.

For many, the world of AI is foreign. Recognising this gap, the introductory AI learning module, was designed to provide an entry-level view of AI to the youth, with the focus being on highlighting the purpose and value of AI to students in a practical, yet accessible manner.

“This collaborative effort with Microsoft is a testament to our ongoing commitment to equipping the youth with the digital skills for future-facing sectors and careers.  The significant number of beneficiaries underscores the scale of impact we want to achieve through this partnership,” says Ravi Naidoo, CEO of YES.

From a practical level, this partnership is geared towards creating a surge in job creation and enhanced employability to make significant strides for the country to put in place a more digitally inclusive economy.

“Together with YES, we are not only addressing the pressing issue of youth unemployment but also helping create a culture of innovation and employability through digital capability building. Microsoft’s approach to AI is based on meaningful innovation, empowering people, and responsibility. This partnership delivers on these three pillars as the means to grow a new talent pool for digital businesses to tap into not only in South Africa, but the rest of the world,” says Lillian Barnard, President for Microsoft Africa.

As young people exit the formal training programme at YES, they will have not only an awareness of how AI can improve how they work and how this could become a career or profession moving forward. Participants who complete the AI Expert Module and who meet key criteria, will be eligible for certification.