BY: ITWeb, Staff Writer.

The Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA) is working with automation software firm UiPath, to address the shortage of robotic process automation (RPA) skills in the country.

The organisations have partnered to develop the “first” national qualification in RPA for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Other collaborators include the Quality Council For Trades and Occupations and local educators.

Through the initiative, MICT SETA and UiPath aim to provide the future workforce with tech skills, as well as boost upskilling and reskilling among existing employees, says a statement.

“South Africa has seen the emergence of a strong automation ecosystem, which includes forward-thinking enterprises that have made intelligent automation a priority; automation services providers; and universities that teach their students automation skills to prepare them for the workplace of the future,” explains Mark Gibbs, EMEA president at UiPath.

“Automation adoption has led to the creation of new roles; however, the need for qualified automation talent is acute. This qualification is set to provide companies with the next generation of talented RPA developers and help narrow the current skills gap in the country.”

A recent report compiled by SAP Africa shows there has been no improvement in SA’s chronic shortage of all types of ICT skills across almost all sectors, noting the most in-demand skills are those associated with emerging technologies.

The 2022 JCSE – IITPSA Skills Survey revealed RPA skills are among those recording “significant shortages”, alongside information security, big data design and analytics, and artificial intelligence.

According to MICT SETA, the national qualification in RPA will prepare young professionals and the current workforce to deal with the disruptive effects of new technologies. The qualification will also enable young professionals to innovate and create new products and services across industries.

“We are hopeful that by means of this qualification, we will bridge the current shortage of skilled labour within the ICT and digital industries, and ultimately, increase the youth employment rate in SA,” states Matome Madibana, CEO of MICT SETA.

“It is important for all stakeholders to come together and ensure SA will have people with the skills to innovate and exploit fourth industrial revolution technologies. Perhaps, most importantly, it will allow those whose jobs face redundancy to be reskilled.”

Certified RPA developers will be able to create RPA solutions that emulate human actions during the project development stage using platform knowledge and data analysis capabilities.

They will also be able to execute test procedures, and modify and improve existing RPA solutions with the skills required to build reusable components.

“The introduction of this qualification is an important milestone for the software automation industry with ripple effects on the business landscape in SA,” adds Gregory Williams, UiPath regional vice-president, South Africa.

“As automation is increasingly becoming a priority for businesses in the region, the initiative will deliver consistency in providing aspiring RPA developers with the skills and knowledge required for the role.”

Mo Kola, CTO for business solutions at the Foschini Group, notes the finance function is one of the top performers throughout the group’s three-year automation journey, where the automated processes are in their double digits.

“As we look to scale our automation deployment within the enterprise, we welcome the introduction of the national qualification for RPA developers in SA as a valuable step towards creating a highly-qualified workforce of the future, which can both drive and benefit from enterprise automation.”

“The NQF accredited RPA programme…gives displaced employees and unemployed youth an opportunity to learn skills that are in demand. Further, being a recognised qualification, means it builds on the individuals’ educational achievements,” concludes Ugan Maistry, CEO, FIRtech.


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