Practical Skills Development in SA
A topic of discussion that inevitably crops up in our Grolsch Swingtop Circle sessions is the importance of sharing knowledge and skills and therefore growing our pool of employable and empowered youth. But where does one start and what are the opportunities for growth that are specific to South Africa? We found the following blog post from Ideate to be extremely useful in answering some of these questions.
Growing South Africa’s Skills Quotient by Wesley Lynch (from www.ideate.co.za)
- Focus on ICT infrastructure – Road and rail infrastructure is widely acknowledged to be critical for economic development. But other infrastructural areas are enjoying less prominence. If we invest enough in data centre and communications backbones, research grids and the skills to operate them, then digital, service-based and knowledge industries will flourish.
- Focus on fringe skills – India is a great example of a country that has found, stuck with, and fully developed a particular business process outsourcing niche, thus creating not only wealth through exports, but also jobs. One of South Africa’s more successful Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) niche areas, software development, can be further strengthened by focusing on fringe skills such as software testing. Post-production in the film industry is another example of a successful activity that could do with more skills on either side of the film-making continuum.
- Focus on mobile – As Africans we have a greater reliance than most on mobile, and an opportunity to grow development skills that can drive advances in digital content on platforms ranging from feature phones to smartphones and tablets.
- Less learning for the sake of it – Too much of university education exists in a vacuum. There must be greater collaboration between institutions of learning and business; both sides must actively seek it out with recruitment and post-graduate or research programmes as well as innovative initiatives that suit their unique objectives.
- Less corporate focus – Many graduate studies focus on skills that fare well in a corporate environment but have little relevance in an entrepreneurial environment – where much of the innovation is likely to come from. A focus on business and communication as well as mobile, social and digital content skills, to name a few, wouldn’t go amiss anywhere.
- Fewer generalists, please – Where niche skills are needed, especially by start-ups and smaller companies, the over-supply of vanilla-flavoured skills drives up the cost of the right skills, putting them out of reach of the one area where innovation is likeliest to come from.
Read the full article here: http://www.ideate.co.za/2012/09/13/growing-south-africas-skills-quotient/
We’d love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment below and let’s start a discussion!