Microsoft partners with Gauteng government to launch online learning platform

Microsoft South Africa and the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) have launched Thint’iMillion, an online mass learning system.

From a digital skills perspective, the training will include Word, Excel and PowerPoint skills, Microsoft said in a statement on Wednesday (4 April).

According to a recent study by IDC and Microsoft, Microsoft Office is the third most required skill according to the 14.6 million job postings analysed for the study.

“As a result the potential payoff for this investment is massive because in South Africa, approximately 30% of South African youth aged 15-24 years are not employed, or enrolled in the education system or receiving training, according to the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey by Statistics South Africa,” said Zoaib Hoosen, managing director of Microsoft South Africa.

“This equates to more than three million young people who cannot find work, because they are regarded as too unskilled and inexperienced by prospective employers,” it said.

Microsoft’s Thint’iMillion online mass learning system is being delivered as part of the overarching online mass learning programme being deployed by Tshepo 1Million.

GPG is partnering with a broad range of NGOs and private companies like Microsoft to help address this massive skills gap by taking the frontiers of workforce training directly into the underdeveloped and rural areas, where it is needed most.

The Thint’iMillion programme will be deployed on Project Sangam, which is a cloud-hosted, mobile-first digital training and employment platform, allowing young people to access content via an on-phone app (Android only) as well as an interactive web portal.

Project Sangam is a training platform designed especially for mobile-only users with low digital literacy.

It frees up users to upskill themselves at their own pace from anywhere, anytime using rich tutorial content with blended learning modules, videos and student quizzes – all without being physically present at training venues.

To help ensure that data is not a hurdle to participation or training, the GPG will also be rolling out a dedicated Tshepo 1Million Wi-Fi network attached to the Gauteng Broadband Network.

This will provide no cost access to Thint’iMillion and the Tshepo mass learning system on any connected mobile device.

The GPG will also be making the training available at no cost to participants within public libraries across Johannesburg. Youths who kick off their training at these venues and go on to find employment, can then continue upskilling themselves via the app or website at their leisure.

There is also the potential to incorporate additional digital skills training such as data analytics and basic programming down the line, when the youth have mastered the introductory Microsoft Office modules.

“Through this partnership with GPG, we will be able to better empower the workforce of the future. A workforce that is diverse, boasting a youth culture that utilises their digital skills to create a thriving city of entrepreneurs and highly skilled workers,” said Hoosen.

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Microsoft partners with Gauteng government to launch online learning platform