UK-SA Tech Hub supports upskilling programme for youth


Digital and emerging technologies are transforming the demands of the labour market globally, including in South Africa.

As new technologies are created, demand for high-skilled workers, particularly those in computer programming and software engineering careers, is increasing.

As a result, a key constraint to sustainable job creation and economic growth in South Africa is the structural mismatch between labour demand and supply.

While Corporate South Africa is supporting the training and development of digitally skilled youth, these young people still lack work readiness, and an entrepreneurial mind-set that feeds innovation and the creation of "new ways of doing" needed to tangibly move South Africa towards a strong digitally enabled economy.

That is why the UK-South Africa Tech Hub recently announced the Cape Innovation Technology Initiative (CiTi) as its partner for the Developers Placement Programme.

The programme seeks to increase the number of tech prototypes created by start-ups and to embed successful work placement or venture creation as a core part of the digital skills development value chain.

The programme will focus on increasing the number of digitally up-skilled youth entering the entrepreneur sector. It is aimed at young people from diverse backgrounds - particularly women.

As part of the programme, chief technology officers (CTOs) from the UK will come to mentor participants.

According to Shirley Gilbey, UK-SA Tech Hub director in South Africa, supporting entrepreneurial activity and strengthening the South African technology ecosystem is a core focus of the UK SA Tech Hub, which led to the partnership with CiTi.

Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi, said it has a strong focus on supporting a diverse and inclusive digital economy.

* The British Council coordinates a Creating Opportunity for South Africa's Youth (COSY) project. It is a a 10-week entrepreneurship programme for young people between the ages of 18 and 25. So far 80 young people have graduated from the project.

COSY project manager, Itumeleng Dhlamini, says the project provides positive pathways for young people in rural and semi-rural areas in the Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Gauteng and Western Cape provinces to be active agents in achieving sustainable growth by building their entrepreneurial capacity and increasing their employability.

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