By Yershen Pillay: CEO, Chieta
IN a rapidly digitising world, South Africa faces a deficit of the skills needed to embrace the opportunities presented by technological advancements.
A report from the Boston Consulting Group revealed that South Africa has the largest share of mismatched workers — a staggering 50 percent — of 30 emerging market economies.
The Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (Chieta) aims to bridge the digital skills gap between urban and rural areas with Smart Skills Centres by taking skills development and training directly to rural communities.
Chieta’s first, fully automated Smart Skills Centre is planned for Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape, and will be followed by a centre in Babanango in rural KwaZulu-Natal. Chieta plans to have Smart Skills Centres in every province by 2025.
Smart Skills Centres will provide digital boardrooms, digitised training experiences such virtual reality training for welders and chemical operators, virtual interview facilities, free training courses with credentials, and many more digitised skills development and training programmes in collaboration with institutions of higher learning.
The centres may also provide innovative ways for local businesses to access work areas such as digitised boardrooms and connect to services using affordable or subsidised workspaces.
Chieta envisages that these centres will address the skills mismatch, and provide businesses and industry with digital skills they need.