SOUTH African enterprises are battling to find the right skills to help them transform digitally, and remain competitive. Pixabay
The future of education for South Africa’s youth does not only lie in going to university as soon as they finish school - or in going to university at all.

The historical emphasis on university as the only viable option to gain adequate qualifications has led to many students either studying something that they have no real interest in or dropping out after a year, said Gary Bannatyne, the managing director and co-founder of The Digital Academy.

“While we would never undermine the value of a university education, tertiary institutions have encouraged a process that makes students feel anxious, and is seeing them apply too early in case they miss out in the future, rather than allowing them to take their time and pursue a career that leads to personal meaningful employment,” Bannatyne pointed out.

Today’s youth are seldom advised to take a gap year to learn new skills or work for a while or ensure that traditional university is the route they really want to take.

According to Bannatyne, this needs to change. “Students need to understand that there are other options. We live in an always-connected information age, where many other courses will not only provide real opportunities and lead to successful careers, but will better equip the youth to thrive in today’s workplace.

“Today’s world is very different from the one we lived in a few decades ago. Having theoretical knowledge is good, but it’s not necessarily what the market needs. Job-seekers need to know how to apply their practical skills too,” he added.

A university degree is also no longer a requirement for many new roles that have been created by the digital age.

“South African enterprises are battling to find the right skills to help them transform digitally, and remain competitive. This is why most businesses are looking for individuals with the right attitude and aptitude, and those who have the ability to scale up their learning. Practical application is the best starting point, as this translates into employees who can quickly add value by getting straight to work,” Bannatyne said.

This is why Level Up has introduced a six-month course called WorkReady that is designed to transfer all the skills one requires to get work opportunities and start their journey into today’s fast-paced digital economy.

“The Level Up WorkReady course has been meticulously designed to provide the most relevant skills for any individual who is looking to pursue a career in the software industry.”

The WorkReady modules are designed to allow learning to take place in a simulated working environment, and emphasis is placed on practical orientation, Bannatyne pointed out.