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Microsoft, IICD launch employability hub in Ghana

Microsoft Ghana in partnership with the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) launched the TizaaWorks online platform, which will be a national one-stop online hub for employability and entrepreneurship. With the World Bank reporting that 65% of Ghanaian youth are unemployed, the platform aims to equip young graduates and school-leavers with the right hard and soft skills to bridge the skills gap and secure first-time job opportunities, in addition to providing career guidance and resources for those wanting to build their own businesses.

The TizaaWorks platform is a Microsoft YouthSpark and Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative.

“Technology can empower young people to make a vital contribution to their community and our world.  We hope that this platform serves as a bridge, connecting Ghana’s young people to the tools, resources and people they need to find the fulfilling careers they deserve." said Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft.

Although there are several employment resources for Ghanaian youth, many do not know where to find them. TizaaWorks aggregates the best, ensuring access to rich e-content and exposing youth to the various learning and training organisations that can help them realise their career aspirations.

Offerings include:

  • Plan your career – career counselling, job market info and stats
  • Get trained – mentor matching, IT training, entrepreneurship, CV writing, soft & language skills
  • Find a job – job matching tool
  • Entrepreneurs – Start-up training, funding tools, social entrepreneurship and free-lance opportunities.
  • Get engaged – Community-based networking platform for users to share ideas and volunteer opportunities

Gallup World Poll data indicates that African governments currently only employ around 14 million people aged 15-29, which corresponds to about 5% of Africa’s population in this ‘youthful’ age group.

In Ghana, many young people who cannot find employment in the public or private sector end up working in the informal sector in low quality jobs. Research conducted by the African Development Bank shows that it is very difficult to get out of the informal sector, unless one pursues entrepreneurship opportunities. Private companies are instrumental to curbing youth unemployment, but at the same time youth face a shortage of skills. Microsoft’s aim through the platform is to match the right skills to appropriate jobs, and equip youth with the necessary training, tools and knowledge required to succeed in their desired job.

In a technologically-driven world, softer skills are also often overlooked. The platform offers hundreds of soft skills training courses to equip youth with the best possible opportunity to land their dream role.

“The TizaaWorks platform is critical for expanding IICD’s impact in supporting Ghanaian youth in smart learning, working, and earning. Thanks to TizaaWorks, our programs that build market-driven digital skills and help youth find employment and start their own IT-related businesses can reach out to a much wider audience, beyond our physical presence,” says Martine Koopman, Ghana Country Manager, Global Advisory Services Manager for IICD. “With the current online platform, physical programs and the upcoming mobile version of TizaaWorks, any young person in Ghana will be able to access information and services enabling them to become more employable.”

Employability Platforms are being rolled out in collaboration with key local partners across Middle East and Africa as part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark and 4Afrika Initiatives. The plan is to have 25 platforms across the region by the end of FY15, including thirteen in Africa: Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, and Nigeria within Africa. Microsoft aims to reach a target of seven million youth across the Middle East and Africa, and create 96, 000 job opportunities and 200,000 new entrepreneurs by the end of 2015.