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Mass skilling will prepare Africa for digital future work, says Elev8 manager

Mass skilling will prepare Africa for digital future work, says Elev8 manager

Nigeria and the rest of African are in need of digital education to prepare their youth for the future of work which will revolve around digital technology. One of the firms in this space that is partnering organisations and government to upskill their workforce is Elev8 Nigeria. The country manager of the Elev8, Nsikak John said the firm’ s commitment is to create digital people who are employable or creators for value for themselves so that they can employ others. He spoke on other issues. Daniel Obi brings excerpts of this interview.

The future of work is resolves around technology. What level of preparedness is required to ensure that Nigeria and rest of Africa play their part in this future?

Yes, the future of work is digital and it resolves around technology. It is said that in 2050, the world will be looking to Africa for workforce because of the young population. While the rest of the world is aging, Africa is predominantly young and the rest of the world would be looking towards Africa as a destination to provide workforce.

But this Africa will not be useful because they are young, they would be useful because they are skilled and because they understand digital and they can use it to create commercial value. The way we can take advantage of digital future is mass skilling around digital. The STEM in schools today does not address skills of the future. Elev8 therefore builds capacity for emerging skills, tech skills of the future. As we partner with organisations and governments, we can prepare Africans to be creators of commercial values in the tech economy of the future. Again the curriculum of schools should be made to be more attuned with the current realities and prepare them for the work of the future.

Could you therefore tell me more about Elev8 and its mission?
Elev8 is a global skilling company and it is part of YNV Group, a global holding company established in 2010. Elev8 grows leaders in Africa and emerging markets. We engage in digital skill for enterprises, digital skilling in partnership with governments, mass skilling projects and with big tech companies.

We are in partnership with Microsoft Africa Transformation office, known as ATO targeting 3 million software developers across Africa, 10,000 SMEs and 10,000 tech start-ups. Our commitment to create digital leaders is very strong. Nigeria has many young people and they have the hunger to make it and Elev8 provides that leverage in terms of capacity building where we help them to get to where they want to be. We are looking for partners to fulfil this mandate.

When did you start business in Nigeria?
We started business in Nigeria in the midst of Covid 19. We are barely two years old in Nigeria. It has been an exciting journey because we have done the Microsoft ATO training to deliver skill to over a 100 young Nigerians.

Immediately after the training about 25 percent of them had job placements. Our skilling programmes are targeted at employability as we skill you to be employed or become a creator of digital value. In Nigeria we have done several training programmes for corporates, across cyber security, AI, IoT or any technology training any organisation wants to acquire.

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Presently we are working with two state governments in Nigeria for mass skill of their indigenes. For a particular state, we do up to 500,000 of their youth in various technology tools. We don’t just stop at upskilling but make them employable or creators for value for themselves so that they can employ others. We are doing this across Africa and other countries.

Kindly share with me the process and how you are carrying out this task of digital upskilling of people ?
As we engage either with government or fintechs or with brands, we first start with a gap analysis. This is because our programmes are impact focused. We first of all want to know where the gaps are, then we try to know where you try to get to strategically and where you try to get the people for upskilling or where you try to get to as a government or as a brand. We also try to understand your aspiration as a big company.

When we identify the gaps, we build customised right skilling journeys, the right content and trainings that will take you on that journey and we do this leveraging our global presence. We are in the US, Costa Rica, Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus. In Africa, we are in Nigeria and Rwanda. We have a presence in Qatar, Vietnam and in China. After the trainings we measure the impact on where you were and how you have travelled based on the skilling impact.

Why are you focused on digital training only and what type of workforce are you focused on for training?
What is happening in the world today is that there is the convergence of exponential technology growth. If you look at the AI, Blockchain, Quantum computing and many more and they are all coming together to create new business model and new opportunities which are disrupting traditional business models. We are therefore telling ourselves, how can we prepare young people, corporates, and governments to compete in the future. This is what drives our focus on digital. We have programmes for the entire value chain in every organisation both public and private organisations and NGOs.

How long does it take you to complete your training for a particular group of workforce in an organisation?
It depends on the programmes. Some programmes are short of a few days to months while other programmes are longer of upto a year or beyond. All this depends on the impact we are trying to achieve and we are focused on impact. Our programmes are designed both in content and learning journeys and timing based on the impact.

There are other organisations in this space of digital upskilling, what therefore stands Elev8 out and how would you assess your acceptance in the market?
What stands us out is impact. Though a lot of people are into digital upskilling but what is the outcome of those programmes. Our digital programmes are outcome driven. Another factor that stands us out is the quality and way our programmes are designed. Because of our global footprint, we have a certain quality to measure ourselves and those qualities cannot be compromised.

Do you have room for private participation in your programmes?
Our focus is not really Business to Consumer, B2C but we are Business to big tech companies B2T, Business to Business, B2B and Business to Government, B2G. However, beneficiaries of our programmes are human beings,most of them don’t pay for it individually as they are funded by big tech companies, their companies or even government. However if individuals want to join our open programmes, will accommodate them. We have physical, virtual and hybrid interactions for our programmes.

How would you assess exodus of talents from Nigeria and how is Elev8 positioned re-address the trend?
The people that suffer the brunch of exodus of talents are the brands. The corporates like the banks and telcos lose the skilled hands to other companies abroad. What we are doing for some brands is building tech academy. We prepare a pipe line of trainable and trained tech resources to quickly replace the ones that have left.

The reason that this exodus is not a terminal problem is that there are a lot of young people in the country who are ready to learn. What we do is to ensure that the companies don’t suffer the impact and that is why we do mass skilling and mass intervention. It is not a challenge if they leave so far they can be replaced.