It is time! Ke nako! Now is the time of the year where young people finishing school on whichever legal level, need to decide on their future. Taking a break from learning could cost you valuable money, which you are able to earn in a job of some nature, whereas a decision to obtain relevant working skills for a professional job as an Artisan, Business or Office position could be a valuable investment. This can be done privately or through bursaries, scholarships, grants, and donations.
If you are young enough to recall the ‘Ke nako!’ slogan of the renowned 2010 Soccer World Cup tournament in South Africa, then you are old enough to realise that preparation is the key to a prosperous nation. At the end of this school year it is indeed time to seriously consider affordable formal skills training, says Elsie Harmse, MD at Africa Skills Private College.
Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum (WEC) invited nations like South Africa to review its education, training, and development policy to work closer with industry in coming with a benchmarked strategy for skilling and reskilling.
WEC stated that we must all be ashamed in seeing the increasing unemployment, inequality, and poverty, as it is the gauge of leadership capabilities. “Leadership is solving problems, inspiring, and motivating youth and the entire society. Leaders must change from looking at themselves and focus on society, achieving political freedom is just the beginning, but realizing economic freedom for the people at large or realising the better life for all must be our focus, and we need to be mindful and reflective about the challenges facing South Africa on a daily basis.
“Now is the most important time to invest in our people, and South Africa needs to skill school-leaving youth and millions of unemployed adults. We need to reskill a major portion of our people who are educated but challenged by daily changes in their jobs and the future realities of work. Skills training and continual learning empowers individuals to take part in establishing an inclusive, equal, and sustainable world,” says Harmse.
She says skills education and training, and the role of accredited private institutions is imperative to promote a sustainably inclusive future of opportunity for students and their families. “As important as embracing the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and increasing challenges to labour markets are, basic artisan skills training and education in financial, administrative, accountancy, and human resources skills are to access the jobs of 2021 and beyond.”
She refers to the key role of community based physical and virtual training centres e.g. the new Africa Skills campus which will open its doors at Knysna on the Garden Route in January 2021. WEC pointed South Africa as part of the global economies “that are positively and negatively affected with the current industrial revolution, that is expected to swallow random jobs such as administrative roles, tellers at retail shops, pharmacists, lawyers, accountants, radiologists, and related professional staff.”
According to the forum’s recommendation prior to Covid-19 lockdown this year, at least 54% of all employees in the world will need reskilling and upskilling by 2022. “Yet only 30% of employees are at risk of job displacement from technological changes received training in the past year. Those most at risk are often the ones who are least likely to receive any retraining at all.”
Harmse acknowledges that Africa Skills Training Centre recognises the need for a national skilling and reskilling revolution. “However, artisan and business skills training will require investment. She says the Department of Higher Education (DHET) confirms that the purpose of their Skills Development branch is to promote and monitor the national skills development strategy.
“At Africa Skills we align our skills training and education programs with corporate needs and to the broader growth needs of the national economy as required by the national skills development strategy that advance human resource development in South Africa. In addition, our life skills training, incorporated into all qualifications is instilling an attitude of excellence and passion for work to add value to productivity in South Africa.
According to the Future of Jobs Report, the Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society has identified four key focus areas to accelerate the closing of global skills gaps: Lifelong learning and upskilling; Future readiness and employability; Innovative skills funding models and Skills anticipation and job market insight.
Harmse says by strengthening the hands of the South African government and its multinationals and corporates, private skills colleges have the capacity to redress the skills gap and build a capable human capital base, making the country competitive in the global economy.
“In the short term, as a private skills training supplier, we need to entice school leavers and the unemployed to seize the day and get prepared to share in good packages and growth prospects. Necessary services must not be threatened due to lack of skills. Skills transfer is a need to have. We are in search of on-going workshops and training. Remember that bad service is one result of lack of training.
“We are an integral part of the long-term solution to see learners and workers equipped with the necessary skills. We need a variety of skilled workers in the future. We need engineers, artisans, managers, web developers, and skilled salespeople. It is estimated that one third of all jobs could be automated in the next decade, calling for affordable, effective skills development,” Harmse says.