SAP prepares journey to upskill 2 million people by 2025 through SAP Learning and Coursera partnership – Manila Bulletin

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Published November 29, 2022, 5:30 PM
by Jonathan Castillo
Despite the hurdles along the way, technology is moving forward. Though the pace may have slowed down a bit, many of us know things will begin to pick up again someday, whether it be in a few months or years. Once the market takes a turn, more jobs should open once again, and by that time, also jobs that didn’t exist today will be available. 
This is a challenge for everyone. Businesses would need people with the proper skill to take on the new job roles. And people would need the skills ready at hand when the demand for such jobs begins to appear.
Such was the case for the recently announced SAP Build. This is a new system that enriches SAP’s Business Technology Platform, where the business experts take on developing applications they need, while allowing IT–coders and software developers to focus on more crucial tasks. 
This means, essentially, that more jobs should become available to people in the future. 
SAP has SAP Learning, which is a website that grants people–both professional coders and people with no coding experience–professional certificates. This would provide them entry-level SAP consultants. SAP has over 400,000 customers worldwide, including in the Philippines, and that translates to a lot of job opportunities. 
Of course, only people who are familiar with SAP would even hear about SAP Learning. There would be, quite obviously and understandably, people who haven’t even heard of SAP. This becomes a barrier for the SAP Learning program. In order to reach a broader audience, SAP has partnered with Coursera–an online learning platform that is known by many people. The Philippines is one of places where Coursera has seen substantial growth, especially with women learners
With this in mind, SAP plans to upskill 2 million people worldwide by 2025. 
During SAP’s TechEd 2022 that took place in Las Vegas, USA, we were introduced to Julia White, SAP’s chief marketing officer. With the brief time we spoke with her, she spoke about the skills gap and the demand for talent despite being there.
“The whole point of doing the partnership with Coursera is vastly expanding access to free training is to help with the skill gap,” said White. “We see this huge demand, we hear it from our customers, from our partners, and there’s more need for people to be able to build applications around SMB systems to continue to work  in SMB systems that exist today.”
SAP Learning and the Coursera partnership seeks to create more professional developers, whether they have had technical experience or not. These SAP and Coursera certifications would lead to entry-level jobs, which in itself opens opportunities as they have managed to get a foot into the industry. 
“We’re trying to do all things, create more professional developers,” White said. “With Coursera, we see people who don’t have any technical background but they can be technical capable in this area as well as build tools that don’t have to be technical at all and still innovate.”
“We’re trying to perfect all parts of it because the gap is very big and the shortage of digital capability and the talent in the world is vast,” White added.
Later during the event, we were introduced to Sarah Harvey, executive director of SAP Learning, to provide more insights about the learning programs, addressing the skills gap, and opening opportunities. 
“We want to create opportunities through learning and development for all,” Harvey said. “We see there being a real opportunity in the ecosystem to upskill people and get them the skills they need to find jobs to make a career in SAP.”
Making learning more accessible, SAP sees an opportunity in building skills for professional developers, upskilling business professionals so they can build applications on SAP, and then upskilling more people for them to become SAP consultants.
“Our collaboration with Coursera is actually a course,” said Harvey. “It’s a seven-course learning journey to get a professional certificate in SAP. So it really prepares someone who has no SAP experience. Entry-level. You don’t need a college degree to be a SAP consultant. So it’s not actually a course on a SAP solution, you don’t come away knowing how to build an SAP solution, but you do come away with an understanding of the skills you will need to be an SAP consultant.”
Harvey pointed out that the SAP Learning and Coursera programs are a starting point for many people. It includes topics such as what skills are needed to become an SAP consultant, use cases of integration and how to deal with customers, among others. By the end of the course, learners should have this broad understanding where to get started.
“A non-technical person would absolutely benefit from the Coursera course,” Harvey said. 
To clarify, this isn’t a guarantee to get people jobs. But it is something that could help them get one with the potential for continued growth. 
As part of SAP’s journey to upskill 2 million people, they have launched initiatives for underrepresented groups in technology such as women, minorities, and people in transition.
“Part of that is a pledge to offer 10,000 free certifications to those groups in 2023,” said Harvey. “A certification typically costs 200 euros, depending on where you purchase it. So we’re going to give away 10,000 free certifications.”
This was on top of the 10,000 free certifications SAP provided in 2022. 
“Based on estimates, 500,000 jobs will be created in the SAP ecosystem in the next two years,” Harvey said. 
If 500,000 in two years sounds about right in SAP’s journey to upskill more people by 2025, which is barely three years from now.
Harvey also mentioned SAP has a strong university alliance program, which trains students on SAP. She added that SAP has an alliance program with UNICEF in upskilling the youth. 
“There’s a real opportunity to skill people and then help them find career opportunities with our customers, partners, and SIs who build through SAP,” Harvey added.
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