With the current unemployment rate in Zimbabwe estimated at over 85%, the Micro Workspace will provide training in skills that will enable young people to qualify for trending and future online jobs in ICT. These jobs, which are not usually accessible to the average Zimbabwean citizen, have a significantly higher labor demand than traditional jobs. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to export their skills (while simultaneously importing jobs) in the growing online ICT job industry without having to immigrate and in doing so, reinforce the brain drain which has robbed the country of much-needed skills and expertise. This project will contribute to a reduction in the rate of unemployment in Zimbabwe while increasing the capacity of participants to earn up to 40% more than the average US college leaver pursuing non-ICT jobs.
According to the World Economic Forum 2017, if Africa is going to participate in the 4th Industrial Revolution (which is mainly centered on the ICT industry), the continent’s human capital will have to acquire skills for the future. This involves an acceleration in the acquisition of digital and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills to match demand, and this is the focus of the Micro Workspace Project.
Training will be open to youth from various educational and socioeconomic backgrounds and this will allow participants from all walks of life to join the program, ensuring that no-one is left behind. Women will be encouraged to apply in order to help address the gender gap in STEM-related fields.
Factors such as Zimbabwe’s high literacy rate; high rate of internet penetration; accessibility of smartphones and a tech-savvy (but unemployed) youth, combine to create a conducive environment for this concept, and it is envisaged that the program will roll out to include more micro workers, following the initial pilot of 10. Micro workers are international free-lancers who can work remotely on cloud-based projects. Harare
While the program is heavily focused on building technical capacity, non-technical workplace skills (soft skills) are incorporated in the design of the programme. The program also includes peer and self-driven activities in order to build initiative and collaboration skills. In addition to skills provision, participants will have access to other useful business resources and networks such as the Impact Hub global network (in over 9 cities across the world), the Facebook Developers Circle, and mentors in various fields and global businesses. For instance, the Facebook Developer Circle meet-ups will provide a platform for students to present their work, network and participate in hackathons and team activities. Weekly[EB1] speakers will also be invited to talk to the students about various business and tech-related topics. It is envisaged that this model will help to expand the participant’s understanding of business.