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Call for SA tech talent to join BRICS skills challenge

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 08 Sept 2022

The business council of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA (BRICS) economic bloc is inviting digitally-skilled local youth to participate in the upcoming BRICS Future Skills Challenge.

The challenge, which is in the form of a multi-day online hackathon from 1 to 6 November, will see the BRICS countries’ top candidates compete against each other.

In a statement, the BRICS Business Council calls on SA’s youth with future-forward digital skills to apply to form part of the team that will represent the country in the online hackathon.

Open to individuals aged between 16 and 35, the challenge seeks individuals in priority skill areas, namely robotic process automation (RPA), mobile app development, data science, digital factory (digital twin) skills, and product life cycle management.

Those selected to participate as individuals or teams from BRICS countries will solve real-world problems in their specific skill area, and will come up with a solution with the support of experts in their respective fields, says the statement.

Joanne Brink, project manager at BRICS Future Skills, explains the benefits of participating in the challenge extend beyond recognition as one of the top South Africans in these fields.

“If you are selected, you will receive training and exposure to real-world case studies. You’ll receive a certificate, international experience to add to your CV and an opportunity to benchmark your skills at a global level,” she says.

Ahead of the skills challenge hackathon, online training camps will be held later this month and in October.

Furthermore, each skills area will have the support of at least one dedicated expert with a deep working knowledge in their specific skills area, notes the statement. It adds this year’s challenge is supported by the Food and Beverage Manufacturing SETA.

In terms of the specific requirements for each digital skill, the mobile app challenge will evaluate the competitors' ability to design, prototype, develop, test and debug an iOS and Android mobile application.

The data science challenge assesses a competitor’s ability to use data analysis tools to generate data visualisations that inform customer, competitor and market insights, strategic and operational decision-making.

In the case of RPA, the skills challenge will focus on creating RPA processes in the finance and accounting functions.

Based on the planning, implementation and optimisation of digital chemical plants, the industrial digital twin challenge assesses the use of simulation technology tools. The digital twin platform is a virtual representation of a real-life factory or system. Competitors will build, operate and maintain digital twins to complete the plant layout design, production line commissioning, digital control and efficiency optimisation of chemical plants.

The final priority skills area is product life cycle management, which involves identifying a product need and taking the product from concept through to business plan.

There will be a multi-disciplinary team of six joining this challenge, and will invent the product concept, build the business case and present the implementation plan that will bring the product to life.

Brink indicates that another key benefit for participants is the opportunity to identify areas for improvement.

“Clarifying where there is a deficit showcases where South Africa should be concentrating efforts to ensure we build skills that will be needed in the changing future of work,” she concludes.

Online applications are open until 15 September. Click here to apply.