Empowering young women to write their future through digital skills development

Digital skills are essential to employability and have the potential to move the needle on South Africa’s devastating youth unemployment. Picture: Pixabay

Digital skills are essential to employability and have the potential to move the needle on South Africa’s devastating youth unemployment. Picture: Pixabay

Published Oct 19, 2023


South Africa’s digital economy has received a boost following the launch of the ‘Write Your Future’ digital skills campaign, which was launched in the country last month.

This innovative local campaign is spearheaded by a pilot project that was unveiled in Mashite, Limpopo, on September 20.

According to the funders, plans are afoot to roll out this programme to a broader audience of young women over the next few years.

Aimed at enabling high-potential women aged between 18 and 25 through digital education, Write Your Future is being delivered in partnership with Social Coding, a Non-Profit Company (NPC) which helps under resourced communities to leverage technology for a better future.

The Lancôme Write Your Future social responsibility programme has, over the years, empowered more than 150 000 young women across the globe.

These include the beneficiaries of the Write Your Future Scholarship Fund as well as the beneficiaries of the many learning, entrepreneurship and mentorship programmes funded by Lancôme.

General manager of the internationally acclaimed beauty brand L’Oréal South Africa, Yumnaa Waja, said what inspired the company to launch the programme in South Africa is the country’s unique literacy challenge, which affects young people in general and young women, in particular.

“While adult literacy in South Africa is fairly high, the digital gap is still a notable issue and is a significant barrier to entry into the digital economy.

“Write your Future is specifically designed to ensure that young women have the skills necessary to compete successfully in today’s world of work and to be both personally and financially independent,” Waja said.

According to the 2022 JCSE-IITPSA ICT Skills Survey, South Africa still has a critical shortage of ICT skills, posing a significant threat to the country’s ability to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

According to a recent study carried out by Wits University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering and the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa, the country’s skills gap is so big that organisations are struggling to fill thousands of vacancies.

“We prioritise digital inclusion so that young people from rural areas can have a better chance of completing their schooling, furthering their education and gaining access to meaningful work. We are committed to ensuring that every young person, no matter what their background or circumstances, has the chance to learn, grow and thrive in the digital age,” said project founder Thembiso Magajana.

On completion of the programme, participants will be equipped with a higher certificate in Information Technology. They will then have the opportunity to participate in an eight-month internship.