Vodafone has launched an international digital skills programme to provide career guidance and access to training content in the digital economy for up to 10 million young people across 18 countries.
The Vodafone digital skills and jobs initiative is the largest of its kind in the world.
Vodafone has also announced plans for a significant increase in the number of young people brought into the company to gain direct experience of the digital workplace.
Vodafone will expand its existing graduate, apprenticeship, internship and work experience schemes worldwide to reach a total of up to 100,000 young people worldwide by 2022.
The two initiatives were announced as Vodafone published the results of a major international public opinion survey revealing the extent to which young adults, aged 18-24, believe they are ill-equipped to participate in the digital economy, despite being the first generation to be “born digital”.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that more than 200 million young people are either unemployed or have a job but live in poverty. In many of the countries in which Vodafone operates, including Ghana, youth unemployment is at record levels. Previous studies have found that a prolonged period of unemployment shortly after a young person leaves school to enter the workforce, can have a lifelong negative effect on individual confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing.
Commenting, Yolanda Cuba, Chief Executive of Vodafone Ghana said “The needs of this new age are unique and complex. The workplace of the future requires a human resource equipped with a new mind-set of winning. Our Digital Skills portal is a very timely tool to equip the youth with the necessary skills and know-how to embrace the increasing demands of the world of work. Over time, every workplace will go digital, creating accelerating demand for a wide range of specialist technology skills. We want to help connect the new generation to the new world of work.”
Paradoxically, unemployment among young people is rising just as businesses of all types and sizes are struggling to fill a wide range of digital technology roles that are critical for future growth.
A recent report commissioned by the Ghana Statistical Service revealed that more than 1.2 million persons from 15 years and older are unemployed in Ghana.
Over the last year, Vodafone has worked with specialist psychologists, careers advisers and training providers to develop a smartphone-based service – called the Future Jobs Finder that offers young people a simple but comprehensive gateway to new skills and opportunities for employment in the digital economy.