Advancing Digital Skills When Needed Most
As survivors of a global crisis, bright young professionals are entering the labor market equipped with new skills, fresh perspective, and boundless energy. These are the stories of recent graduates of the SAP Young Professionals program, who have good reason to celebrate as they establish their careers in a growing marketplace for SAP skills and digital jobs.
While many educational programs struggled with the complex demands of distance learning during the pandemic, the SAP Young Professionals program gained advantage in a digital environment by opening its online classrooms to tap into new markets and attract qualified, recent university graduates, who otherwise might not have been able to attend classes in-person. As a result of this expansion, SAP partners and customers in the evolving markets of Southern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will now have access to a wider pool of qualified SAP consultants who are certified on SAP’s latest innovations.
For customers like Dangote Group, the largest conglomerate in West Africa and one of the largest on the African continent, working with SAP Young Professionals is a win-win opportunity for talent development.
Digital Skills Bridge the Gap to the Job Market
Having earned the sought-after professional designation of SAP associate consultant, graduates of the SAP Young Professionals program are skilled on the most recent versions of SAP software and career-ready for placement with SAP partners and customers in their region. The program boasts a job placement rate of 95% globally. To date, more than 3,220 people have graduated from the program since its inception in late 2012. The program is free of cost for its selected learners.
SAP is investing to increase the number of trained and certified SAP consultants in the SAP ecosystem to support customers with digital transformation. IDC estimates new employment in the ecosystem will rise to 1.6 million employees by 2024, up from 1 million in 2020. Of the 600,000 new employees added to the SAP ecosystem, 280,000 will be net-new consultant roles, making SAP skills a valuable commodity in the job market.
As a newly graduated SAP Young Professionals talent, Lama Alnuwaiser recently began her job at Accenture in Saudi Arabia. She says that the program’s three-month curriculum is very learning-intensive, with advanced training on SAP’s innovations. The SAP trainers supported each learner individually, despite the unusual demands of the pandemic.
A Common Learner Profile Unites Diverse Cultures
There is a common learner profile for the talents that the SAP Young Professionals program attracts across geographies. The program is typically suited to recent university graduates with a technical or business background, depending on the track’s disciplines, who are either unemployed or underemployed in one of SAP’s focus markets. Rebecca Gloria Akello’s story echoes many of the common themes in the journeys of SAP Young Professionals.
Akello, who lives in Uganda, was underemployed, earning little money, and had few prospects for advancement in a volatile job market. Motivated and self-reliant, she had begun to study for her MBA with hopes that she could secure a better job. She was unfamiliar with SAP when she first saw an advertisement for the SAP Young Professionals program.
That intrepidity paid off for Akello, who received a job offer from an SAP customer following her graduation. At her virtual graduation ceremony, she underscored the intrinsic value of the SAP certifications and professional soft skills that she earned through the program.
Accelerating Digital Skills Development on the African Continent
The SAP Young Professionals program has already trained more than 1,550 young people in Africa as part of SAP Skills for Africa, an SAP umbrella initiative focused on skills development and job creation. Training multi-country cohorts in a virtual setting, a necessity of the pandemic, has accelerated the expansion of the program’s footprint on the continent. In 2021 alone, talents from Senegal, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Egypt, Angola, and Mozambique have graduated from the program.
Since mid-2019, SAP has been working with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with the aim to jointly create 450 jobs for highly qualified personnel in the IT sector in 10 African countries over the course of three years. The cooperation project is part of the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation and the develoPPP program that GIZ implements on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It is executed by the SAP Training and Development Institute as part of the established SAP Young Professionals program.
In June, the SAP Young Professionals program achieved a new milestone with the graduation of its first-ever class in Portuguese-speaking Africa, comprising Angola and Mozambique. Constantin Zelenty, deputy head of Mission at the German Embassy in Angola, joined SAP customers, partners, and executives in celebrating the milestone with a virtual graduation ceremony.