PIETER DE VILLIERS

CO-FOUNDER & CEO, CLICKATELL AND CHAIRMAN OF SIMODISA

THOUGHT

Leader

AN INNOVATOR OF INDUSTRY
” SOLVING THE DIGITAL SKILLS GAP IN SOUTH AFRICA REQUIRES BROAD SCALE COLLABORATION.” – PIETER DE VILLIERS, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, CLICKATELL AND CHAIRMAN OF SIMODISA

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Whilst the majority of public sector efforts and incentives are aimed at job creation within South Africa, high growth technology entrepreneurs will be quick to point out that the skills gap is a bigger issue than the jobs gap. As a result, several high growth entrepreneurs and technology leaders across several sectors have engaged with the digital skills ecosystem via the SiMODiSA TechXit Collective. We have done this in order to better understand the challenges and opportunities faced by South Africans, with a  view to unlock the full potential of our youth and the creation of a vibrant digital sector.

The TechXit digital skills initiative is aimed at both positively addressing identified shortcomings in the South African digital skills ecosystem (throughout the value chain), as well as at delivering new forms of value created through the development of digital skills. This newly created value will benefit both employers as well as the people of South Africa.

It is my opinion that the digital skills training and development of South Africa’s youth is a bigger opportunity for our country than agriculture and mining ever were. Not only will we be able to fill hundreds of thousands of existing digital skills jobs, but there is an opportunity to create more than a
million additional digital workers by re-shoring billions of rand worth of jobs currently being offshored. And, if we do this right, we will be able to attract significant foreign direct investment through in-shoring the digital capabilities we create. This is especially important since there are more than 11 million digital skills required globally as of March 2022.

 

To become a medium- to high-growth economy, South Africa needs to advance the development of digital skills at an unprecedented level, particularly for low-skilled workers who will otherwise bear the brunt of job vulnerability as a result of the automation of administrative and technical work.

The TechXit programme and framework aims to close the current and future gap between the supply and demand for ICT/ digital skills. The TechXit initiative’s purpose is to unlock the full potential for South
Africa’s youth in a rapidly changing world, contributing to a thriving society. We see partnerships and a digital ecosystem approach as essential to enable businesses to innovate, scale and grow successfully, with the skills they need to compete globally.

TechXit’s mission is to provide a job creation framework consisting of digital skills capacity building programmes that will lead to the placement of a million digital skills related jobs in South Africa over the next ten years or less. We believe this will fuel South Africa’s economic growth through a ‘win, win’ private and public sector partnership that has been estimated to have a potential of more than R300 billion per annum.

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