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Trace Academia, a free-to-use learning app set to reach 26 million young Africans, represents an important contribution to the youth employment agenda on the continent, says Olivier Laouchez, co-founder and executive of Trace.
Trace and the Mastercard Foundation yesterday announced the interactive mobile-based app that will enable youth to acquire on-demand, market-relevant skills. It is available on iOS and Android after already being tested in four African countries.
On Trace Academia users can access courses in both English and French with Portuguese-language courses also to be rolled out, the company confirms in a media release. The learning content will include technical courses relevant to 15 different industries such as energy, beauty, fashion, DIY, digital marketing, hospitality, the creative arts, journalism, film, and technology.
Furthermore, Laouchez says courses that are “more broadly relevant” will also be added. This includes courses in entrepreneurship, public speaking, and personal wellness. “Each course featured on the application has been designed in collaboration with an industry leading organisation to ensure its relevance to employers and the job market,” he says.
Trace Academia anticipates that 26 million African youth would have benefited from the app-based courses and certificates by 2026, according to Laouchez. “This app aims to train them with the skills they need to find or create work and the opportunities to kickstart their careers. I strongly believe that their current circumstances should never be a hindrance to their success.”
Peter Materu, chief programme officer at the Mastercard Foundation, says there are two things about the Trace Academia that he founds particularly exciting.
“The platform offers young people total flexibility and control over their learning. Users can learn at their own pace, in their own time, and customise their journey to the emergent demands they face as they navigate the world of work. Second, the courses are deeply practical and designed in collaboration with market-leading organizations to ensure they are industry relevant,” he says.
“The Mastercard Foundation is pleased to support this platform as part of our Young Africa Works strategy to enable 30 million young people to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.”
Materu reiterates that the platform represents an important contribution to the youth employment agenda in Africa. As the youngest continent in the world, with nearly 65% of its population under the age of 25, Africa is home to the workforce of the future, and with the right skills and opportunities, young people could be the continent’s greatest drivers of transformation.