Ethiopian Airlines Group Microsoft partner for ICT skills development


Ethiopia’s flag carrier and Africa’s largest aviation group, Ethiopian Airlines has collaborated with Microsoft 4Afrika to launch a new AppFactory in the country.

The AppFactory – or Apprenticeship Factory – will train young ICT graduates and equip them with skills to become ICT professionals and software engineers in the airline industry.

“Every industry in Africa is being transformed and disrupted by technology – and air transportation is no exception,” says Tewolde Gebremariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. “Airlines are using
technology to better understand their customers and offer a more personalized flying experience. We need more young people with skills in modern technology to drive this kind of innovation and
transformation. We believe the partnership with Microsoft will play a fundamental role in strengthening the link between universities and industries, so as to improve the quality of skills and access to jobs.”

Apprentices at the AppFactory will spend up to six months working on real-world software solutions, guided by senior software engineers. After completing their apprenticeship, graduates
will have access to jobs at Ethiopian Airlines and its affiliate airlines in Africa.

Microsoft first established the AppFactory model in 2013, as a way to improve the employability of ICT graduates by equipping them with the high-level skills and experience that employers
today are looking for. Since the first launches in South Africa and Egypt, the AppFactory has been established in Nigeria, Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius and Malawi, in
partnership with public and private sector organisations. Last year, 500 apprentices graduated from these AppFactories, of which, 85% were offered full-time jobs within three months of graduating, and others starting their own businesses.

This is the 15th AppFactory to launch on the continent, and the second in Ethiopia. In May 2017, Tulane University Centre for Global Health Equity and Microsoft 4Afrika set up an AppFactory to
develop digital skills in healthcare at the Wollo University Kombolcha Institute of Technology. In January 2018, the first cohort of 21 apprentices graduated from this AppFactory and 90% have
already secured jobs as programmers, working for Wollo University and major hospitals across Addis Ababa.

“As we move into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, organisations are becoming more focused on the impact of digital skills in driving performance and competitiveness across industries,” says Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of Microsoft 4Afrika.

“The unique partner-based model of the AppFactory allows for the development of relevant industry skills, across healthcare, education, agriculture, tourism, transportation and more. With a stronger skilled technically enabled workforce, business and industry leads have the opportunity to digitally transform their sector.”

The collaboration between Ethiopian Airlines and Microsoft goes beyond today’s AppFactory launch. Microsoft – through the MySkills4Afrika programme – worked with the airline’s technical
developers to create an Android and iOS mobile application. Built on Microsoft Azure, the app aims to boost electronic ticket sales and offer routine customer support, making it easier and faster for customers to interact with the airline.

“Digital transformation is about implementing technology advancements and cultural changes. The technical capacity and skills of the youth, as engines of growth and transformation, is critical to render the country more competitive,” adds Amrote.

“Through programmes like 4Afrika, Microsoft remains committed to investing in and developing relevant skills and competencies across the continent.”