ICT programme prepares future professionals
Despite its rapid growth in South Africa there is a massive skills shortage in the ICT sector
A new ICT work readiness initiative aims to equip graduates for the workplace while boosting the digital sector. Despite its rapid growth in South Africa there is a massive skills shortage in the ICT sector according to the Bank Sector Education and Training Authority (BankSeta)
A Stats SA report revealed that the ICT sector is currently larger than the agricultural industry. This is good news for the economy but bad news for unskilled workers.
“The ICT sector is growing and few have given thought to long-term career planning and future ICT skills needs within the priorities of the country.” – Masithuthuke Holdings Pty Ltd.
The sector has the potential to stimulate job creation, both directly and indirectly, yet these opportunities are severely under-utilized due to various developmental barriers in South Africa says Masithuthuke Holdings Pty Ltd.
The economic sustainability and profitability of the ICT sector is influenced by scale and the critical mass phenomenon. Critical mass occurs when a sufficient number of users have adopted a new system in order to make it self-sustaining.
“Critical mass is achieved when half the population has a broad band connection, South Africa has not yet reached critical mass.”
Structural investments are required in rural and remote areas in order to successfully develop this lucrative industry.
Inflexible labour market regulations can limit progress in the ICT sector. International investors for example may find the regulations stifling, making them reluctant to invest in the country.
South Africa needs to loosen its grip on labour market regulations if it hopes to progress in the digital space.
One of the biggest challenges facing the ICT sector in SA is the lack of qualified professionals.
According to BankSeta the entire education system needs to be addressed in order to meet the skills shortages. This includes primary, secondary and tertiary education with greater emphasis being placed on appropriate subjects such as science, mathematics and technology-related disciplines.
Skills constraints at management level are especially problematic for the growth of ICT in local organizations.
The sector together with academia is required to help the country build the capacity needed to develop a digital economy. But are we doing enough to produce highly qualified ICT professionals?
BankSeta in partnership with Masithuthuke Holdings (Pty) Ltd is responding by establishing a programme that will allow unemployed ICT graduates to undergo an intense systems support skills and theoretical work readiness course. This is followed by experiential workplace exposure and training at a host company for a period of six months with a view to placing them into the work stream permanently.
For more information download the ICT Work Readiness Programme Overview
By Cindy Payle – Portal Publishing