A pilot skills development programme aims to create 1-million new jobs by 2030.

The pilot was announced by the co-ordinator of government’s Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) programme Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, minister of communications and digital technologies, in partnership with MICT SETA.

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed the 4IR commission to address, among other things, the skills gaps to future proof South Africa’s economy and reduce youth unemployment.

The pilot phase of the project aims to train and equip 1 000 unemployed youth with the 4IR ICT skills necessary to secure learnerships and employment and, ultimately, start new businesses.

The skills development programme has been segmented into different streams: data science, digital content production, cyber security, cloud computing, drone piloting, and 3D printing and software development. The 3D printing and software development stream was recently launched at the University of Johannesburg.

Over and above the core technical skills, the first intake of 259 learners from Gauteng and Mpumalanga will also be exposed to work readiness programmes and entrepreneurship skills.

FIRtech has partnered with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies to deliver parts of the overall 4IR skills programme. Other partners include the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Boston City Campus and Microsoft South Africa.

“4IR has changed the way we work and interact with each other. The soft skills of working with teams and service orientation are critical success factors and we plan to impart these skills during our work readiness programmes,” says FIRtech CEO Ugan Maistry.