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9 Oct 2023 • Eductation • ICT

Digital Industries Academy Empowers Mauritian Talent for a Thriving ICT Sector

A Certificate Handover ceremony under the Digital Industries Academy (DIA) took place on the 5th of October 2023 at the Conference Room, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Tower, Ebene. This ceremony celebrated the achievements of 350 young professionals who have successfully completed their training programs, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the ever-evolving field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

In his keynote address, Dr. the Honourable Renganaden Padayachy, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, and Development, underscored the crucial role of the ICT sector in Mauritius’ economic revival, citing that it currently employs over 30,000 individuals in approximately 900 companies. He emphasized the government’s commitment to nurturing this sector, creating over 1,500 new jobs in the next six months.

The Minister of Finance highlighted the pivotal role played by the Digital Industries Academy (DIA), established under the Economic Development Board (EDB), in meeting the demands of the digital era. He announced that the DIA would extend its soft skills courses to Rodrigues Island, soon, broadening the scope of its impact. He encouraged graduates to be pioneers of innovation, reminding them that their skills would shape not only their careers but also the nation’s progress.

The Minister reaffirmed the government’s dedication to accessible and industry-relevant training, sharing statistics of more than one million people trained over the past 31 years, with Rs 4.4 billion disbursed for training funds in Mauritius. He also acknowledged the growth of the ICT/BPO industry, which he said has shown robustness with growth rates of 2-3% in recent years.

Mr Ken Poonoosamy, CEO of the Economic Development Board (EDB), lauded the graduates for their dedication and commitment throughout their one-year training program. He traced the evolution of the ICT sector in Mauritius, highlighting its growth and contributions to the national GDP, which stands at an impressive 5.9%. The ICT/BPO industry continues to be a major employer in the country, providing opportunities for approximately 32,000 dynamic professionals.

Mr. Poonoosamy stressed the need for continuous learning in this fast-paced industry, especially with advancements in technologies such as AI, machine learning, and robotics. He emphasized that the Digital Industries Academy (DIA) would be a game-changer, creating a seamless ecosystem for upskilling the workforce. “The EDB, as the agency responsible for establishing DIA, is committed to supporting its development to empower individuals of all ages and backgrounds to embrace the digital age confidently and competently”, he added.

Mr Yamal Matabudul, CEO of Polytechnics Mauritius Ltd, also highlighted the importance of soft skills training in enhancing employability within the ICT sector. “The collaborative efforts of the public and private sectors have culminated in the successful training of 350 young professionals, who are now equipped to contribute to the digital transformation of Mauritius”, he said.

For recall, after being announced in the budget speech 2021-2022, the Economic Development Board (EDB) was entrusted with the responsibility of setting up a Digital Industries Academy (DIA) to address the problem of shortage of skills in the ICT sector and create a national pool of talent.

The Academy is currently operating as an industry training platform with strong collaboration from the ICT Industry Associations and supports in bridging the gap between school leavers/ fresh graduates and industry requirements.

A steering committee comprising of representatives of EDB, Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Ministry of Information Technology, Communication & Innovation (MITCI), Human Resources Development Council, Outsourcing and Telecommunication Association of Mauritius, the Mauritius Information Technology Industry Association and ICT commission of French Chamber of Commerce was set up in 2021 for the operationalisation of the Academy.

Several actions have been undertaken by EDB ever since the creation of the DIA, namely registration of training institutions as part of an EOI exercise and a request for proposals for soft skills. Polytechnics Mauritius Ltd was selected for the provision of Soft Skills courses following an evaluation exercise.

Private companies like Huawei through its CSR, has also provided great help in the launching of its IT related training which was targeted to both employed and unemployed people in August 2022. The objective was to provide exposure to new trending technologies and allow trainees to enhance their career competitiveness. The free Training program imparted by Huawei also saw participation from various ministries, universities, and institutions.
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