The shortage of skilled workers in South Africa, particularly moving forward into the fourth and fifth industrial revolutions, could be solved by leveraging our relationship with BRICS nations, according to Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi.
Nxesi was speaking to the media after his address at the Durban Jobs Fair held at the Exhibition Centre on Thursday.
The Department of Employment and Labour also unveiled the newly European Union sponsored buses which will serve as mobile offices for labour consulting processes, as they are fitted with all the relevant equipment including backup solar power.
Nxesi said the shortage of skills in the ICT sector around the world was being filled by India, a country with a plethora of knowledge to offer when it comes to the computing sector.
“When we talk about ICT, most of the countries are taking engineers from India, who are teaching their people about ICT. So we believe that there is a lot that we can achieve, sharing the information dealing with the skills gap.
“Many of the employers in South Africa have indicated that part of the problem, which is facing our youth, is a result of a lack of critical skills. As long as you do not have the right skills, you can have a degree, a BA degree but somebody who is an artisan will be able to get a job quicker than you.
“The issue of artisanal skills is very important. Through the interaction with these countries who will be able to deal with the skills transfers, we can take some of our young people into these countries to be trained,” Nxesi said.
According to a 2022 report from the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering, a partnership between the University of Witwatersrand, government and industry stakeholders, found that there was a slight improvement in ICT skills in their country, but levels of competence in this sector remained low.
Compilers of this report, specifically, Andrew Schofield, said more young students need to take a path in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) for this gap to be narrowed.
“The skills gap is temporarily narrowed because of COVID-19 and the effect on the economy,” explained Adrian Schofield, report author and production consultant at the IITPSA.
“The percentage gap between vacancies and candidates has narrowed slightly in the past two years. Previously, there was a 15% gap between vacancies and available candidates, now that gap is around 12%. This is not much and in the longer term there will always be this gap,” the report stated.