Skills for Employability Program
Although nearly one million students graduate from African universities each year, employment opportunities for new graduates are scarce and the mismatch between the education offered and the core skills needed in the job market has contributed to high unemployment rates among graduates across sub-Saharan Africa including La Francophone Africa.
Youth account for60% of all African unemployed (with even higher rates of unemployment for young women), posing a significant risk to the region’s social cohesion and political stability if sufficient economic opportunities are not made available.
Though a better-educated workforce and improved preparation for school-to-career transition with a high focus on fundamental skills in the mathematical sciences, there is an opportunity to enhance the chances of Africa’s youth, particularly women, to become active contributors in its transformation.
Designed for a five-year period, the SFE program, funded by Global Affairs Canada, sets out to contribute to solutions of major development challenges in La Francophone Africa by meeting the demands of the knowledge-based industries emerging in the region through providing highly skilled training and also improving transition to work for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) scholars.
The program targets a cross section of beneficiaries, 30% of whom should be women: 200 AIMS Cooperative Masters students, 160 Post-AIMS Business Certificate graduates and 2,250 beneficiaries who will undertake Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), including students from 13 partner institutions across la Francophonie Africa.
The following key activities will be implemented throughout the program’s lifespan:
- a new post-AIMS 2-month Business certificate to enable AIMS students and alumni to develop in depth business and entrepreneurship skills with a 4 month business internship.
- online learning modules through the African Virtual University (AVU) digital learning platform;
- industry focused math forums that bring mathematicians and industry together to solve practical challenges faced by industry in La Francophonie
- strategic partnership with academic institutions and private sector including women owned and led businesses, as well as Women in Science events
The expected ultimate outcome for the program is to increase the economic prosperity of the target populations in La Francophonie by increasing access to skills for employment to its students in addition to their skills in the Mathematical Sciences. AIMS will develop and strengthen partnerships with relevant institutions, especially industries and businesses owned or led by women in order to achieve this goal.
SFE builds on the AIMS Cooperative Master’s degree project currently being implemented in Senegal, through the support from the Mastercard Foundation, and the AIMS Industry Initiative launched in 2013.