Impact Amplifier, a social innovation accelerator and advisory firm, has launched GetSet-4IR, an initiative supported by Google.org.
Through a series of ecosystem interventions, GetSet-4IR aims to address the shortage of digital skills in South Africa and bring youth from disadvantaged backgrounds into the economy.
GetSet-4IR will offer acceleration to ten social enterprises that provide digital skills training; adapting their services to market demand, and creating pathways to high-value employment with at least five large South African employers over the course of 2020 and 2021.
Social enterprises interested in: building their institutional capacity; increasing their visibility and expanding relationships with demand (employers & funders); crafting their impact model, and better matching market demand for digital skills should join this ecosystem initiative.
Max Pichulik, co-founder of Impact Amplifier, says: “Research conducted shows that the demand and supply of digital skills in South Africa have rapidly increased over the last five years. Digital jobs for talented youth are becoming office-less, borderless and with global lockdowns in place, digital skills education is about to be disrupted too. The South African digital skills ecosystem must prepare for this new world, where new pathways to employment are created, and old structural inequalities of the past overcome.”
Alistair Mokoena, country director of Google South Africa, comments: “Google.org is committed to empowering youth in South Africa with skills of the future leading to meaningful professional pathways. We are delighted to support initiatives like Get-Set4IR that develop scaled training programs and open up access to the digital economy.”
Impact Amplifier has supported other Google interventions between 2018 and 2020, which include the implementation of the Google Impact Challenge – South Africa. As a local country partner, Impact Amplifier was tasked to source, select and accelerate 12 social enterprises in South Africa that provide technology solutions for economic inclusion in South Africa.
According to Pichulik, key strategic interventions of the GetSet-4IR initiative will take place on both the supply side (working with social enterprises that provide digital skills training), as well as the demand side (partnering with employers).
“Supply interventions include increasing the number of talented youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly women, entering digital skills training programmes and securing employment,” he says.
On the demand side, GetSet-4IR will work with employers and ecosystem funders to put in place a number of interventions that will result in building more inclusive career pathways for unemployed youth (of disadvantaged backgrounds) coming from digital training programmes.
Some of the interventions that GetSet-4IR aims to implement, include: aligning employers hiring and onboarding procedures to become more inclusive and match current skills supplied; aggregate demand needs, and educate demand on the breadth and type of supply that is currently available in the market.
The launch of this timely initiative, now more than ever, highlights the importance of aligning digital skillsets to demand; driven simultaneously by the needs of the fourth industrial revolution and the constraints brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With ICT recognised globally as a key enabler for growth, the GetSet-4IR initiative will create a strong pipeline for job creation by matching supply and demand and equipping young unemployed South Africans with digital skills so that they can find gainful employment in the new economy and escape the cycle of poverty,” Pichulik says.
Digital skills training organisations and medium to large employers seeking to secure new digital skills talent are invited to join this ecosystem initiative by registering their interest here.