Microsoft, IICD launch ‘Tizaa Works’ to assist job seekers, entrepreneurs

Microsoft Ghana in partnership with the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) last Thursday launched an online platform to facilitate job search, career counseling entrepreneurial training among other services.

Dubbed ‘Tizaa Works’, the platform will also serve as a hub for mentorship for the youth, IT training, CV writing, soft & language skills.

Tizaa Works is also aimed at assisting entrepreneurs with funding tools.

The platform is a community-based networking platform for users to share ideas and volunteer opportunities.

With the World Bank reporting that 65% of Ghanaian youth are unemployed, the platform aims to equip young graduates and school-leavers with the right hard and soft skills to bridge the skills gap and secure first-time job opportunities, in addition to providing career guidance and resources for those wanting to build their own businesses.

The TizaaWorks platform is a Microsoft YouthSpark and Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative.

At the official launch of the hub, Microsoft’s General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Legal and Corporate Affairs, Brad Smith said Tizaa Works will bring tremendous relief for both job seekers and employers.

“Technology can empower young people to make a vital contribution to their community and our world. We hope that this platform serves as a bridge, connecting Ghana’s young people to the tools, resources, and people they need to find the fulfilling careers they deserve”, Mr. Smith said.

He adds that although there are several employment resources for Ghanaian youth, many of them do not know where to find them.

He explained that Tizaa Works aggregates the best resources available, ensuring access to rich e-content and exposing the youth to the various learning and training organisations that can help them realise their career aspirations.

Present at the launch on May 21 which took place at the Holiday Inn hotel in Accra was the Deputy Communication Minister, Ato Sarpong.

Gallup World Poll data indicates that African governments currently only employ around 14 million people aged 15-29 which corresponds to about 5% of Africa’s population in this ‘youthful’ age group.

In Ghana, many young people who cannot find employment in the public or private sector end up working in the informal sector in low-quality jobs.

Research conducted by the African Development Bank shows that it is very difficult to get out of the informal sector, unless one pursues entrepreneurship opportunities.

Private companies are instrumental to curbing youth unemployment, but at the same time, youth face a shortage of skills.

However, Microsoft’s aim through the platform is to match the right skills to appropriate jobs and equip youth with the necessary training, tools and knowledge required to succeed in their desired job.

In a technologically-driven world, softer skills are also often overlooked. The platform offers hundreds of soft skills training courses to equip youth with the best possible opportunity to land their dream role.

“The TizaaWorks platform is critical for expanding IICD’s impact in supporting Ghanaian youth in smart learning, working, and earning. Thanks to TizaaWorks, our programs that build market-driven digital skills and help youth find employment and start their own IT-related businesses can reach out to a much wider audience, beyond our physical presence,” says Martine Koopman, Ghana Country Manager, Global Advisory Services Manager for IICD.

“With the current online platform, physical programs and the upcoming mobile version of TizaaWorks, any young person in Ghana will be able to access information and services enabling them to become more employable”, she said.

Employability Platforms are being rolled out in collaboration with key local partners across Middle East and Africa as part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark and 4Afrika Initiatives with a plan to have 25 platforms across the region by the end of FY15 including thirteen in Africa: Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, and Nigeria within Africa. Microsoft aims to reach a target of seven million youth across the Middle East and Africa and create 96, 000 job opportunities, and 200,000 new entrepreneurs by the end of 2015.

The Microsoft team led by Brad Smith paid a working visit to the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Paa Kwesi-Amissah Arthur and his selected Ministers to discuss the partnership with Ghana Government to create jobs for the youth and also had a breakfast meeting at the US Ambassador’s Residence.

Brad and his team also met YALI Fellows, students of and Professors of GIMPA and briefed them on how Tizaa Works to create jobs for the youth

Microsoft in Ghana: Brief Summary of Impact in Ghana

Microsoft has been operating in Ghana for 10 years, continues to recognize the long-term growth opportunities in the country and we have made significant investments to date in Ghana especially in education, the youth, and the communities.

We have seen tremendous growth in broadband availability and internet penetration in Ghana, which has the highest mobile penetration rate on the continent (an estimated 112%, according to ITU). Microsoft is excited to play an active role in this transformation, using technology to lead economic and social transformation in the country.

Through its programs in Ghana, Microsoft has: trained 15, 000 teachers; reached over one million students; created over 1, 800 jobs, and supported 35 successful startups in Ghana.

One of Microsoft’s core projects in the country is its partnership with the Ghanaian Ministry of Education and the British Council, to set up ICT hubs in local schools and communities to accelerate digital literacy across the country.

Falling under a regional project called Badiliko, 17 digital hubs have been created in Ghana and Microsoft has trained 26 local Master Trainers who are serving as Digital Ambassadors and School Leader Facilitators in the hubs, helping over 1,700 people in Ghana become trained to date.

IICD in Ghana: Brief Summary of Impact in Ghana
IICD is an international expert organization, which specializes in leveraging technology for social and economic development.

By connecting people to sustainable technology, IICD makes it possible for people to learn, work and earn in a smart way. IICD’s approach in ICT4D is based on bottom-up innovation that involves all critical stakeholders, including customers. This approach developed over the past 20 years ensures high adoption rates and sustainability of technology solutions.

IICD offers sustainable ICT solutions and advisory services to accelerate development through supporting smart learning, working and earning in the following areas of impact:

– Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship
– Healthcare delivery
– Agricultural value chains
In Ghana, IICD has been working for 17 years. During the last 5 years, our programs directly benefited over 6000 people and impacted 362,500 Ghanaians.

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