A global training centre for the blind and visually-impaired has been launched in Worcester, South Africa.
The goal of the Apple Training Centre is to transform how blind people are perceived by empowering them with technological and IT skills for the open labour market.
The centre is a partnership between the non-governmental organisation partner Kaleidescope, the ABSA banking group, and the Apple corporation.
The curriculum will focus on the use of technology for both personal (Facebook
and WhatsApp) and business (email, Safari/web browsing and analytics) needs.
Moreover, all training modules will begin with the Apple accessibility tool for the blind known as Voiceover.
The Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Albert Fritz, emphasised the importance of transforming the manner in which people living with disabilities are viewed.
"We must stop disempowering the disabled by viewing them as incapable dependents,” said Fritz.
“They are just as capable of achieving success, and our role as society is to ensure the barriers in front of them are removed and they are afforded opportunities to prosper."
Freddie Botha, Executive Head of Kaleidoscope, added that considering 97% of people who are visually impaired are unemployed, there is an enormous need for this group in South Africa to be trained in affordable accessible modern technology to improve their employability.
"It is very important to empower our blind and partially-sighted persons to enable them to enter the open labour market on the same level as sighted applicants and employees,” Botha was quoted as saying by SA Good News
“This centre will be an extension of our rehabilitation, skills training and career development department."
The centre aims to train at least 400 people during its first year of operation.
Google is promising to train one million young Africans in digital skills within the next year in an effort to reduce youth unemployment.
The training will include 300,000 people in South Africa, where 35 per cent of 15-to-34-year-olds are unemployed.
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