Microsoft, via LinkedIn, launches Global Skills Initiative in SA for those wanting to upskill (for free)

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Work, right? Nobody seems to have enough of it and making a change to your situation right now seems like a silly thing to do. After all, who could possibly be hiring? Actually, according to Microsoft, that’s not strictly true.

Going Global

Microsoft has identified several in-demand jobs and has put together the resources needed to train people to perform those jobs. Called the Global Skills Initiative, the program aims to advance up to 25 million people in various digital skills by the end of the year. And, of course, we’re only talking about it because the program is now in South Africa.

While the program — launched through LinkedIn and GitHub — is available to any South African (yes, including you), Microsoft has teamed up with Afrika Tikkun to also bring the program to unemployed South Africans who may not have the resources to participate otherwise. The grant will allow Afrika Tikkun to assist the unemployed to “…identify the best learning paths to follow based on their existing skillset and the most in-demand skills and jobs in South Africa identified through data and analytics.”

“Our goal is to combine the best in technology with stronger partnerships with organisations like LinkedIn, GitHub and Afrika Tikkun to help empower people to develop the skills needed to secure a new job. We are, for instance, encouraged by our learning partners who are offering access to their classroom facilities and devices for unemployed people to book training and use the facilities at no cost, and are excited to continue collaborating with partners to provide expanded access to digital skills” said Siya Madyibi, legal and corporate affairs director at Microsoft South Africa.

Up those skills

The explanations are fun and all but what you’re really asking yourself is: How do I get started? There are three areas where Microsoft SA is offering you a shot at something new: a portal for learning new skills, a place to apply for jobs and then a space to get ready for interviews using your new-found skills. But it’s the first of these where you’ll spend most of your time.

Microsoft offers skilling and training for ten different careers, from software developer to graphic designer (with a few stops in between). All you need to do is hit up the relevant page on LinkedIn and click the Start Learning button beneath your chosen field. The courses are presented in video format and should be easy enough to follow. We haven’t had time to vet several years’ worth of education yet.

Right now is the ideal time to launch into something like this. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the job market, Microsoft’s identified which careers are in need of people, and… well, this initiative is free until 31 March 2021. You’re not going to get a better educational offer than that.

Once your new-found skills are attained, you’ll be able to look for work (via LinkedIn, of course) and there are resources to help you do well during the interview process. Taking the form of video courses, those are also free. Practising coding on GitHub is also an option before the big day.

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