Local workforce must be reskilled for digital economy

Read time 2min 10sec
MICT SETA board member Marilyn Radebe.
MICT SETA board member Marilyn Radebe.

The lack of digital technology awareness is one of the many factors hampering digital transformation in provinces with low economic activity.

This is according to Marilyn Radebe, MICT SETA board member and founder of Precisional Growth, reflecting on the outcomes of the recently-held first Limpopo Digital Transformation Summit.

The summit sought to bring the ICT sector to Limpopo and create a marketplace for people in that province to engage and use the latest technological advancements.

Referencing Statistics SA data, Radebe notes Gauteng remains the province that contributes the biggest share to the national economy, while Limpopo, North West, Free State and the Northern Cape contribute the least.

As a result, she emphasises the need for career fairs with a digital transformation focus, to up career awareness of the opportunities in the digital economy.

Furthermore, tertiary institutions, together with their leadership, have to adopt digital technologies, to ensure students develop problem-solving skills and adopt an interest in the use and creation of the latest digital technologies, according to Radebe.

“As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. If a child or person is not exposed to people who form part of the digital economy, they wouldn’t know the opportunities that exist within the digital economy; therefore, they wouldn’t necessarily pursue a career or opportunities in the digital economy.”

The South African government has prioritised skills development in an effort to equip citizens with the necessary skills to thrive in a digital society.

Through the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, government has made a commitment to train one million young people in data science and related skills by 2030.

The MICT SETA board member stresses that SA’s existing workforce needs to look at how to reskill themselves in order to form part of the digital economy.

She also notes: “Our new entrants into the labour market need to be equipped and skilled with the necessary digital skills and know-how.

“Digital transformation only happens when digital technology is used to solve problems and without problem-solving skills, we cannot use digital technology to digitally transform. Therefore, it is critical that problem-solving skills are developed at an elementary level within our schools as a means to stimulate our digital economy.”

See also