Building a digital skills pipeline

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Shaun Dippnall, co-founder of Explore Group and CEO of Explore Data Science Academy.
Shaun Dippnall, co-founder of Explore Group and CEO of Explore Data Science Academy.

In a post-pandemic world, it will become more critical than ever to find intelligent, data-driven solutions to solve our most urgent problems.

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New trends and technolgies such as the Internet of things, big data, machine learning, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and cloud, are driving digital transformation at an unprecedented speed across all industries.

However, SA is experiencing a major digital skills shortage, and if the country hopes to compete in the fourth industrial revolution, the public and private sectors need to find new ways to bridge the skills gap.

Shaun Dippnall, CEO and founder of Explore, says COVID-19 has certainly increased the demand for digital skills – the accelerated move to digital globally has had a tremendous impact on the demand for these skills. Unfortunately the supply of these skills locally has taken a knock.

“SA’s education system is far behind US and UK, which have many more options for learning tech skills both at universities and modern alternatives, and boast far more computer and data scientists entering the job market each year,” he adds.

Dippnall says SA needs far more learning pathways, and universities and other places of learning need to catch up. “We need to be training hundreds of thousands per year, not thousands.”

Moreover, he says there are other factors inhibiting digital skills development, including the fact that individuals do not have the money to pay for these courses, and bursaries have dried up as corporate budgets have shrivelled over the past year.

Dippnall will be presenting on ‘How can we encourage digital skills development in South Africa?’, at the ITWeb Business Intelligence Summit, to be held as a virtual event on 9 and 10 March. Delegates can expect an overview of the digital skills landscape, local supply and demand, as well as what companies need to do to build their digital skills pipeline.

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