Affordable and accessible education must digitally empower South Africans
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution has ushered in an age of extraordinary change, we must ensure that employees are able to proactively upskill themselves to prepare for jobs in the burgeoning digital economy.
Impact on South Africa
In the South African context, the workforce faces the challenge of accommodating a growing middle class, a large contingent of unemployed youth, and the growth of mobile and Web-based learning. Globally, we are seeing technological advancements such as advanced robotics, artificial intelligence
The ‘new reality’ of the digital economy is that the interplay between advancing technologies and socio-economic forces will render some roles redundant whilst creating completely new career categories. The workplace of the future and the roles it will contain will continue to evolve as innovation continues unabated. As a result, employees and aspiring workers need to embrace opportunities for ongoing learning and skills development that best prepare them for roles that support high-growth areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), and maintaining the underlying security behind all communications and networks.
In order for South Africa to remain competitive with other comparable markets, access to affordable and accessible digital skills education is required. Educational institutions – in collaboration with the private and public sectors – have a huge role to play in helping to produce more graduates who can meet the need for high-pay, high-skill jobs that come with the digital transformation of the economy. According to the 2016 ITWeb/CareerWeb IT Salary Survey, tech professionals in South Africa have seen double-digit year-on-year growth in salaries. For non-management roles, the highest paying roles include those of software engineers and system architects.
SA target: 100,000 more digital grads by 2020
For the past 20 years, the Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad) has demonstrated the power of partnerships to digitally empower employees. Run in collaboration with over 9,600 educational institutes and 22,000 educators worldwide, NetAcad has helped 7.8 million graduates since its inception. In South Africa, NetAcad trained 8500 students last year, with 92% of students completing their goals – landing a new job or opportunity at work. Since its inception in the country, NetAcad South Africa has seen over 80,000 graduates through the programme (29% of whom are female), placing the country among the top-20 countries participating in NetAcad.
Since being launched in South Africa in 1997, more than 70 Networking Academies have been established in the country in partnership with schools, Technical and Vocational Education and Training Colleges (TVETs), and universities, as well as in non-traditional educational environments such as prisons, homeless shelters, schools for the blind, and innovation hubs. Supporting Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration Strategy – long-term partnerships with governments, industry
To help South Africans develop relevant digital skills, Cisco recently launched eight free online courses as part of training an additional 100 000 graduates by 2020 through the NetAcad. Recognising education as a life-long requirement – whether mid-career or starting out in the workforce – NetAcad offers a range of options in terms of how learning takes place, whether self-paced, online or a blended environment (a combination of formal/traditional classroom and informal/digital media instruction). For the eight new
Digital skills are a requirement in the new economy and the need will not slow down. As the South African economy looks to develop and support more
By: Cathy Smith, Managing Director - Cisco Sub-Saharan Africa
Accenture on digital transformation in Africa: https://www.cnbcafrica.com/videos/2017/05/23/digital-transformation-in-africa/
Singapore’s Smart Nation Drive: http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2017/02/article_0008.html
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