Amazon Web Services (AWS) opened its first international AWS Skills Center in Cape Town, South Africa, continuing on a mission to remove the barriers of access to cloud skills training. AWS Skills Centers are Amazon’s dedicated, in-person cloud learning spaces designed for anyone who is curious about cloud computing, career possibilities in the industry, and how to gain the skills to achieve their career goals.
Anyone in the local community—regardless of background, education, or social status—can explore how cloud computing technology is powering everything from weather predictions to smart homes.
As part of the grand opening ceremony, AWS invited local community leaders, education partners, government dignitaries, and job seekers to tour the facility and explore how the cloud is impacting their daily lives. Premier of the Western Cape Alan Winde, Director-General of Higher Education and Training Nkosinathi Sishi, Provincial Minister Mireille Wenger, Member of Mayoral Committee James Vos, and AWS leaders Maureen Lonergan, Tanuja Randery, and Rashika Ramlal shared their excitement about the new learning center and the value it offers to the region.
“We look forward to working with AWS to bring powerful training resources to the citizens of South Africa,” said Winde. “By investing in our people and their future, we are also investing in South Africa’s future and advancing our stature in the global economy.”
“AWS is committed to removing barriers for people to access the skills training they need to grow their careers,” said Lonergan, vice president of AWS Training and Certification. “The Cape Town region is rife with talent, and upskilling the workforce can play a key role in driving innovation, catalyzing economic growth, and accelerating digital transformation across South Africa.”
Immersive exhibits, classroom training, and community events
Cape Town is the third AWS Skills Center to open, joining facilities in Seattle and Arlington, Virginia. Each center features a wide range of cloud training and career exploration activities that are free of charge and open to the public.
Each space is designed to engage visitors by showcasing how cloud technology is powering everything from weather predictions to robotics. Visitors learn by participating in a variety of fun and interactive experiences.
- The Cloud Discovery Space includes eight immersive exhibits that reveal how the cloud supports space exploration, gaming, machine learning, cybersecurity, and more.
- Both in-person and virtual participants can take live, instructor-led training from AWS experts to learn cloud computing fundamentals.
- Learners can leverage training and resources to prepare to earn an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification, validating their skills and enhancing their employability with an industry-recognized credential.
- The center also offers career coaching and hosts networking events with local employers and workforce development organizations to connect workers with job placement opportunities.
The new Cape Town facility is expanding workforce-development programs and transformation strategies in the local community. One of the primary objectives is to level the playing field through free education initiatives for nontechnical workers, helping to meet the growing need for skilled cloud talent.
According to the 2023 World Economic Forum (WEF) The Future of Jobs Report 2023 report:
- Organizations identify skills gaps (60% of respondents) and an inability to attract talent (53%) as the key barriers preventing industry transformation.
- While 60% of workers will require training before 2027, only half have access to adequate training opportunities today.
- More than 75% of organizations plan to adopt technologies such as big data, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence in the next five years—driving a surge in demand for individuals with these skills and creating approximately 2.6 million new jobs by 2027.
To help meet the demand for cloud talent, AWS has trained more than 100,000 people in South Africa on cloud skills since 2017. This figure includes free and paid training.
In addition to supporting the South African community, AWS Skills Center Cape Town is helping to fulfill Amazon’s goal of providing free digital skills training to 29 million people around the world by 2025. AWS’s free training offerings range from on-demand, self-paced courses to cohort-based workforce-development programs.