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Digital skills training critical for Africa’s emerging workforce

July 10, 2019 • Features, General

Digital skills training critical for Africa's emerging workforce-Liquid Telecom study

Becky Mosehle, Chief Human Resources Officer at Liquid Telecom South Africa.

In a bid to get an understanding of the ICT skills landscape in Africa, Liquid Telecom conducted a study that identifies what resources and training is needed in Africa, and pinpoint where the digital skills gap most greatly needs addressing.

The AfriCAN Digital Skills study uncovered that young people in Africa have a “fierce appetite” to learn and master skills in emerging technologies.

The study also found that what African universities are doing to take advantage of the change brought upon by digital transformation is stepping up and offering programmes at undergraduate and post-graduate levels in digital technologies. The study further reveals that there is a growing number of Innovation Hubs across the continent, supported by big business and that governments across the region are finding new ways to develop digital skills that will help deliver long term economic growth. Countries such as Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa to list a few have government-backed projects that aim to drive digital skills development.

The report finds that Africa is in a crtitical transitional period and needs to ensure that there is a pipeline of skilled workers entering the workforce as well as establish itself as the home to leading tech talent.

Partnering for Good

Together with its partners, Liquid Telecom currently has a number of initiatives to help bridge the digital skills shortage in Africa.

The company’s free training e-learning platform– 21CSkills is one such initiative. The platform focuses on skills such as blockchain, data science, AI, Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and game development.

Since its launch, 500 students from 7 countries across Africa have enrolled on the platform. Liquid Telecom aims to impact African youth, People looking to upskill or reskill, Corporates that support skills development – both outside and inside their organisation, NGOs supporting skills development as well as governments with the 21CSkills platform.

The platform is created for the African tech enthusiast according to Liquid Telecom. It offers a range of online accredited courses in key emerging technologies.  21CSkills is also currently being used to train data scientist students participating in the DataHack4FI competition.

In February 2019, Liquid Telecom South Africa in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) hosted a hackathon where students were tasked to develop a game that would address learning challenges a primary school level. The collaboration with UJ expands to research and development in Robotics, Internet of Things and AI.

Liquid Telecom is also helping to develop data science skills in the region through its partnership with Zindi. With over 2000 registered users, Zindi has built Africa’s largest online community of data scientists. The platform encourages data science enthusiasts to participate in online competitions where they can access real-life data sets in order to deliver innovative solutions to solve some of the continent’s most pressing challenges.

Liquid Telecom says African enterprise urgently needs high-level ICT skills in fields such as data science, robotics, IoT and AI to keep pace with global development. Meeting these skills needs will require both new skills pipelines and an upskilling of existing workforces reveals the company.

By Fundisiwe Maseko
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