THREE government agencies yesterday signed a deal with computer giant Microsoft aimed to train municipal workers and unemployed graduates in information technology throughout the country.
The partners with Microsoft are Development Bank of Southern Africa's (DBSA) Development Fund, the SA Local Government Association (Salga) and the Local Government Sector Education Training Authority (LGSETA).
A memorandum of understanding was signed by the four organisations at a press briefing held at DBSA headquarters in Midrand yesterday.
About 2000 people from all nine provinces will receive ICT training from Microsoft professionals up to 2012.
Each province will contribute 10 municipalities to be part of the programme.
"We will provide training to unemployed graduates and municipal employees, long-term funding and upskilling of management in municipalities," said Microsoft managing director Mteto Nyathi.
"With improved computer skills, municipal employees will improve their response rate which will culminate in service delivery."
Municipal managements will also be trained in the programme.
"Training will increase management of information system within municipalities," Nyathi said.
But he would not disclose how much would be spent by Microsoft in the training programme.
Reuben Matlala, divisional executive at DBSA Development Fund, said the training would be done at Vulindlela Training Academ, while trainees in other provinces may be visited at a central venue.
"It is one of our goals to build capacity at local government level and this partnership will enable local government to respond to service delivery more efficiently and timely," said Matlala.
LGSETA will use skills plans and skills audit to develop a menu of IT skills needed within local government.
They will further give funding of R1,5million, targeting students via the agreement with Salga.
Students who want to participate in the programme will have to meet the following minimum criteria:
l Be South African citizens;
l Be unemployed;
l Be in possession of a university degree or diploma in IT, engineering or business field; and
l Be in possession of a matric certificate with English and mathematics and a one- or two-year diploma in any field of study.
"Many South African municipalities have the right technology but don't know how to use it," said LGSETA chief executive Sidwell Mofokeng.
"The placement of clued-up IT graduates will ensure the upkeep of current computer systems and correct upgrades when needed, while helping staff utilise the IT equipment to full capacity," said Mofokeng.
Unemployed graduates will come from databases from the four partners in the memorandum of understanding.