Slow development of digital skills is blocking SA – ATS digital revolution

While the evolution of the economy appears to depend heavily on advances in the technology industry, a report titled The Digital Skills Gap Index by Afrika Tikkun Services (ATS), which measures how well countries are meeting the required skills, shows that these advances may match not to the required standard.

The index rates African countries between 1.8 and 5.

This pales in comparison to the global average of 6, meaning Africa has a lot of catching up to do.

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The failure of traditional institutions

But what exactly is stopping the country from doing better? According to ATS, which is also a skills development and delivery organization, the main challenges South Africa faces are a gap in education quality and the failure of traditional institutions to provide the skills demanded by the economy.

The organization believes that the ongoing shortage of skilled workers is one of the main problems holding the industry back.

While the industry has made efforts to work with educational institutions to match the nature of the skills being taught with the needs of the industry, progress is still slow.

Private sector companies need to step up

Onyi Nwaneri, CEO of Africa Tikkun Services (ATS), says it is now up to private sector institutions to offer skills programs to fill this gap and get the ball rolling.

“It is no longer up to government-initiated programs and systems to create a streamlined school-to-work pipeline for young people,” she said.

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“Partnership between individuals, companies; NGOs and social enterprises have proven to move much faster in some crucial areas of skills development in South Africa. In many ways, these partnerships have been pioneers in creating results-based skills development initiatives that have helped thousands of unemployed youth enter the workforce and contribute to South Africa’s economic growth,” she added.

The tech industry is projected to grow at 12% annually

Nwaneri said that without an informal technology-related upgrade, traditional jobs and ways of working will become obsolete and therefore perspectives within the industry will need to change to adapt.

The organization said the information technology industry is expected to grow at 12% per year for the next few years, according to analysts at Simply Wall Street.

“We must encourage young people, the people who teach them, the people who employ them and those who educate them, to take digital skills development seriously,” Nwaneri said.

Trends have shown that economic recovery depends heavily on entrepreneurship.

“We need more young people hiring young people. A robust and cross-sectoral digital skills revolution is needed to create workers who are hired and entrepreneurs who later create jobs while empowering themselves and their communities,” she concluded.

*Compiled by Devina Haripersad

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