TOGETHER AS ONE: AEEI chief executive officer Khalid Abdulla, AYO chairperson Salim Young, BBC secretary- general George Sebulela, AYO chief executive Kevin Hardy and Siphiwe Nodwele at the AYO listing on the Main board at the JSE.Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)
CAPE TOWN - The AYO incubation and Technology Hub will build digital inclusion for the future.

AYO Technology Solutions Limited (AYO) yesterday announced its intention to launch the AYO Incubation and Technology Hub, which will concentrate on building digital inclusion through skills development and mentorship. This is particularly relevant for its union shareholders - Cosatu, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa), Popcru and Sactwu - whose membership stand to benefit from this knowledge transfer, helping to bring the unions and their membership base into the digital era.

To fill the gap in skills that has been created by the exponential explosion in technological advancement, AYO has seen the need to develop its own comprehensive knowledge transfer programmes.

The AYO Incubation and Technology Hub will assist the unions to remain relevant, sustainable and true to their mandate of connecting their members to each other and ­economic opportunity. This will also ensure that AYO remains very relevant to its stakeholders.

The AYO Incubation and Technology Hub will embrace a multi-stepped mentoring approach to developing skills within the company, and also to attract and advance black economic empowerment developers and tech specialists from external sources.

In addition to these pipelines of potential, AYO is making good on its desire to work closely with its partners, and will be identifying a number of candidates from several of its union stakeholders.

These bright young people will have the opportunity to gain a foothold on the digital ladder by joining the hub.

Technology affects almost every industry on earth, clothing and textiles included. In order for a sector to stay rele­vant to its members, it needs to embrace the advances that technology can bring.

As the textile sector employs thousands of people, technology has the ability to enhance what they do and, indeed, increase income prospects for many of them. By having young people mentored in understanding the dynamics of technology and the impact on the clothing and textile market, the industry as a whole will be well-placed to grow hand-in-hand with the digital era.

Dennis George, the general secretary of Fedusa, another of AYO’s significant partners, echoed Kriel’s sentiments, saying: “Many of our traditional industries lack the necessary knowledge, skills and equipment to optimally embrace this new technological era.

“Yet our people have the potential to embrace it. The AYO Incubation and Technology Hub will be ideally placed to assist us in transforming how we, as unions, and the business sectors we represent, transform - better communication with our members, better processes leading to better outcomes for all.”

The unions represent more than a million workers who stand to directly benefit from their shareholding and active participation in the economy.

Established in 1996, with a broad base of more than 1000 shareholders, including individuals, institutions, unions and several women empowerment groups, AYO listed on the JSE late in December 2017.

Approximately 80percent of AYO shareholders are black and more than 30percent are female. In listing, AYO became the largest black economic empowered ICT company to find placement on the main board, reaching a market cap of R14.7billion.

-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE