The clock is ticking for South Africa to join the global digital economy in earnest and fully industrialise its economy. In response to this urgency, Afrika Tikkun Services (ATS) is partnering with Naspers’ youth development programme, Naspers Labs, in a skills development and placement project which taps directly into the country’s future economic needs.

Over the next year, the partnership aims to empower and train over 350 youths with the skills to become specialists in niche, defined sectors where certified skills are currently in short supply. The youngsters will be trained to become desktop support technicians, software developers, data analysts, cloud, cybersecurity and AI (Artificial Intelligence) specialists.

An additional 50 youth aged 16 to 21 years will be supported through the youth accelerator programme to gain digital literacy amongst other skills that will enable them to be positioned to become a talent pipeline for 2022’s technical skills training.

Equipping youngsters with digital skills

In marking Africa Industrialisation Day last week, Afrika Tikkun Services highlights that partnerships such as the above are but one-way South Africa can realise its full economic potential by placing its youth at the pulse of the rapidly changing skills demands which align with the fourth industrial revolution.

“The youth, who are the majority of the continent’s population, remain in the back seat when it comes to skills for an industrialised economy. Until we change this, Africa won’t be able to fully industrialise and reach its full economic potential,” says Afrika Tikkun Services CEO Onyi Nwaneri.

The overall purpose of the initiative is to expose young people to holistic demand driven skills development activities that facilitate growth and maturity in personal and professional decision making as well as career/technical skills/competencies.

The project determines in-demand job roles and sources placement opportunities within the digital economy using priority skills listed in the LinkedIn’s Economic Graph, the Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta) priority skills/Scarce and Critical Skills reports, Harambee’s recent report titled – Mapping of digital and ict roles and demand in South Africa amongst others.

This information is overlaid on the learning content being offered and recruits are matched to learning paths that meet their interests, aptitude, personality and thinking style.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed existing inequalities including basic digital literacy, access to ICT skills and resources. With Naspers Labs ICT expertise and Afrika Tikkun Services’ passion for youth development, we hope to awaken the potential of thousands of young people with this partnership in the long term,” concludes Nwaneri.

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