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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  24 May 2013

TRAINING: Young Black Women to Fill ICT Skills Gaps in South Africa

 





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IT skills service provider, Rigatech, is taking on the challenge of developing and executing integrated training and internship programmes to address specific ICT skills shortages in South Africa. Information and communication technologies are widely assumed to be an enabler of economic growth, according to the UN Development Programme Report, and yet South Africa faces a significant shortage of ICT skills at all levels. Concern has been expressed that the shortage of ICT skills in South Africa will constrain government’s goal to achieve a sustainable annual six per cent growth rate in GDP and to halve unemployment and poverty by 2014. The ICT skills shortage is often attributed to the mismatch between the supply of skills and the skills demanded in the labour market, further aggravated by a loss of skills to other countries that offer higher salaries and better conditions of employment. Additionally, many organisations are reluctant to pay for the creation of skills, seeking rather to outsource their requirements.

The 2011 ITWeb-JCSE Skills Survey found that many software developers, high-end integrators and other ICT service providers continue to complain that their growth is constrained by a shortage of relevant skills. According to the survey, current demand amounts to 20 000 to 30 000 job opportunities, or 10% to 15% of the total ICT workforce. Two thirds of companies responding to the ITWeb survey reported that they were severely impacted by a shortage of ICT skills. According to recruiters and employers, application development, mobility, high-end infrastructure and analytics are just a few of the areas where the industry has a dearth of skills.

Rigatech aims to address these skills shortages and to provide realistic and sustainable solutions to developing ITC skill sets within South Africa, particularly amongst young black women whose potential has been sorely overlooked in the past. “We have resolved to take an innovative approach to addressing sustainable job creation by combining profitability with a real contribution to social development,” says Rigatech Chief Executive Evelyn Naidoo. “To realise this objective our aim is to provide previously disadvantaged women with skills and experience in the ICT industry.” Naidoo possesses more than 35 years’ experience in the banking sector and is driven to lead and inspire young women who are aspiring to acquire new skills.

Rigatech is presently piloting a training syllabus which aims to develop and execute optimal integrated training and internship programmes to address specific ICT and business needs and skills shortages. This two-year process includes faculty training at Rigatech, alignment with university syllabi through student mentoring followed by internship placement. Collaborations with a number of corporate IT organisations will see these companies providing specialist skills and mentorship incubators within their organisations. After a screening process of eligible candidates, qualifying black women will be selected for the programme and placed with these companies for in-house training.

“We are laying the foundations for our projects success by creating a pipeline of potential trainees, building awareness of the programme, developing assessment processes, and packaging our training and evaluation processes for certification,” Naidoo explains. “The final steps will be to establish placements for our graduates into identified roles within chosen IT organisations or to facilitate the shadowing of existing roles for eventual placement within the company.”

Backing the new concern is parent company Logikal Consulting, a leading BEE multinational that provides integrated telecommunications, financial services and public sector solutions. The company is lending both capital and other resources, such as skills transfers and job placements through its team of experienced technicians and thought leaders.


 
 
 
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