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Digitally able youth
Published in Ahram Online on 22 - 09 - 2020

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) recently announced the details of the Future Work is Digital (FWD) initiative. The FWD, launched in cooperation with the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), will offer online training to 100,000 youths on future skills and jobs to reinforce Egypt's position on the global ICT map and place it among the top countries exporting digital services. It is also after creating a wide range of job opportunities for youth by preparing them to take on master freelance digital jobs.
In a press release issued by MCIT, the 18-month FWD initiative will teach students web development, data analytics and digital marketing. It will also enable them to access Udacity's online learning classroom.
Moreover, youths will have access to hands-on training, expert-reviewed projects, online support webinars, professional industry mentors and a peer-to-peer interactive community. According to the press release, the educational initiative offers four scalable tracks in each field. Learners will be able to access and register for the scholarship through the ITIDA website to help them navigate the tracks and choose the appropriate course according to their skill level.
Applicants who want to join the initiative must be Egyptian, with independent professions and between the age of 18 to 35. They must have good knowledge or practical experience in their field of specialisation to meet the specific technical requirements of the path they join.
The initiative is part of a broader government plan to improve the skills young people need in the job market. “The government is ready to provide training for youth, via different initiatives... [that] are a form of creating job opportunities for youth,” Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi said late last week while inaugurating the Egyptian Japanese University for Science and Technology at Borg Al-Arab in Alexandria. He said that rehabilitation initiatives for youth cost the government some LE10 billion.
According to Ahmed Zayed, a university professor and board member of the National Academy for Training (NAT), the government has already started several initiatives including the FWD, adding the freelance market is expected to grow rapidly due to Covid-19. The coronavirus is forcing different organisations and governments to adopt the concept of digital services. “Therefore, the demand for remote work opportunities will skyrocket,” Zayed told Al-Ahram Weekly.
According to Zayed, the government is currently exerting “tremendous effort” to prepare a base of talented youth well qualified for the job market and for leading positions.
Young people represent about 60 per cent of the total population of Egypt, and the country depends on them for modern development plans, Zayed pointed out, adding that in 2014 then prime minister Ibrahim Mehleb issued a ministerial decree authorising ministers to choose youths among their assistants.
Also, the governor's reshuffle in 2019 witnessed the appointment of 60 per cent new governors and their deputies. Two youths were appointed as governors and 23 as deputy governors.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 24 September, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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