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ICT firm partners Amazon to train 400 W/Africans

by Business News Report

An Information Communication Technology (ICT) company, Coven Works, says it is collaborating with Amazon to equip 400 youths in West Africa with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science skills for better jobs. The Programme Director of the company, Mr Dunsin Fatuase, said this on Sunday in a statement he signed in Abuja, noting that Coven Works educates millennials living in marginalised communities with in-demand skills and connects them with high paying jobs. He said that the training, which would begin on Thursday, Feb. 14, would be through Amazon’s Web Service (AWS) Educate, a global initiative of the company to provide students and educators the resources needed to accelerate cloud-related learning. Fatuase explained that cloud computing, the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on internet to manage and process data and AI, were recently the most sort-for skills on Linkedln.

He further said that Gartner, a world leading research and advisory company, had predicted that over 70 per cent of organisations globally would require AI to assist employees’ productivity by 2021. He added that AI is the ability of a computer programme or a machine to think and learn and also a field of study which tries to make computers “smart”. The programme director said that the company had trained 700 junior data scientists and AI engineers in the previous year and was consolidating on that, hence the training of the 400 youths this year. He noted that “Coven Works is collaborating with the AWS Educate programme from Amazon Web Services Inc. to launch an AI and data science boot-camp for 400 West African students based in Nigeria and beyond. This will enable us to bring the most in-demand skill sets to the next generation of African builders and developers.

“We are building tomorrow’s workforce by empowering young people from developing countries with in-demand software engineering skills and matching them with high paying jobs.” According to Fatuase, the World Economic Forum (WEF) report on “Future of Work” ranks AI and data science high among skills needed for tomorrow’s jobs. Fatuase said “these youths are from conflict regions in developing countries and are largely marginalised. Working with the AWS Educate programme is a strategic move to improve the capacity of our AI engineers and add them to a global workforce”. He added that Coven Works students would branch out to learn more on AWS Educate after completing the six weeks pre-requisite in-class boot-camp. After the pre-requisite classes, Fatuase said, the trainees would select from 11 cloud career pathways, complete the AWS Educate curriculum, while Coven Works would work with them to set up job interviews.

He stressed that the company would ensure continued focus in upskilling youths in disadvantaged regions, provide cutting edge learning in data science and AI for Africa’s working professionals, as well as build tomorrow’s workforce. According to him, the programme teaches resilience and global citizenship. Fatuase also quoted Mr Ken Eisner, the Senior Manager, AWS Educate, Amazon Web Services Inc., as saying “there is high demand to build skills around AI. As we travel around the world, ministers of education and workforce development keep pointing to the growing demand for cloud skills and the grand opportunity that we face. Through this collaboration with Coven Works, we are excited to provide the next generation of African builders and developers with the skills, hands-on learning, and pathways into the cloud and AI community.”

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