Status Update

Growing South Africa’s Digital Skills Ecosystem

South Africa

2019 - Present

GetSet-4IR is an ecosystem initiative implemented by Impact Amplifier (IA), and supported by Google.org, to accelerate innovations addressing the supply and demand gaps for digital-skills in South Africa. Digital skills training and employment have consistently been put forward as a viable solution to address youth unemployment on the African continent. Partly due to growing demand, but equally because basic digital literacy has become the bare minimum requirement in most labour markets. Key strategic interventions of the GetSet-4IR initiative will take place on both the supply side (working with social enterprises that provide digital skills training), as well as the demand side (partnering with employers), reads a press release.

IA Role

Youth unemployment is at an all time high (34% - Bloomberg) in South Africa, and has been exasperated by the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19. As all our industries digitize globally, the need for digital skills is at an all-time high. It’s clear relative to other industries, that the sheer demand for digital skills, and the requisite amount of training required to become employment ready, makes the digital economy one of the most compelling opportunities for young people to work, especially from a productive earning capacity.

IA would be developing a series of interventions to support the digital skills ecosystem. Over the last five years the demand and supply of digital skills in South Africa has rapidly increased. However, there is a material gap between the skills needed by the market and those being produced by the various training organisations. In addition to this gap, certain digital skills offer a unique opportunity to leverage low income people marginalised by access to formal education out of poverty.

There is a need to strengthen both emerging business models and ecosystem interventions which bridge this gap for disadvantaged youth. GetSet-4IR, delivered by Impact Amplifier, with support from Google is driving these innovative ecosystem ideas, which can employ disadvantaged South African youth into digital skills jobs at scale.

Partner

GetSet-4IR has partnered with 7 of South Africa’s top digital skills training social enterprises, to help them scale new ideas for employing youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Each beneficiary would be working with IA to develop ecosystem interventions that improve the funding, training and job placement of disadvantaged youths in the digital skills sectors.

LEAD Impact is a social impact asset manager focused on investing into new, innovative solutions for persistent problems of poverty and inequality that old systems perpetuate and often exacerbate. LEAD is focused on building a new, inclusive, equitable, healthy and environmentally resilient world by investing both capital and capacity to socially innovative, South African social enterprises.

FutureMe is a non-profit organization that works with learners, educators and corporate organizations with the aim of bridging the gap between school and work, addressing challenges of both youth unemployment and skills shortages in key industries.

RLabs is a non-profit company that aims to create environments and systems where people are impacted, empowered and transformed through HOPE, Innovation, Technology, Training and Economic Opportunities. To date, more than 200,000 people across 23 countries have accessed RLabs skills, training and economic empowerment programmes

CapaCiTi is the skills development division of CiTi. CapaCiTi’ s vision is to enable inclusive growth of the digital economy by ensuring a supply pipeline of future-fit, skilled employees with relevant digital skills matched to industry demand

Life Choice provides state-of-the-heart job-training programs intended to give school leavers the skills and direction they need to land meaningful and good-paying jobs. A subsidiary, LC Studio, has been established to create a pipeline for these school leavers to access the ever-growing demand of digital skills jobs.

Projects

IA will be providing business / capacity development to the aforementioned digital skills organisations to adapt their training toward market demand and linking their graduates to high value job opportunities via the following projects:

Digital Skills Job Placement - Digital skills training organisations would create special purpose service hubs that work towards finding appropriate professional opportunities for graduates.  By specialising and focusing on this 100% of the time, those involved can  customise the approach to supporting graduates, magnetize corporate and SMME partners, and develop longer term relationships with those in need of digital skills. Life Choices has established LC Academy - a services hub that would employ talent from low income communities, under the supervision of a senior team, to execute jobs outsourced from the industry such as QA development, web app development etc. While CapaCiti aims to develop a pilot Digital Services Hub in Cape town, which can provide work to unemployed youth (who have graduated from CapaCiti’s training programs), and offer digital services to SMMEs in the Western Cape.

Financial Services Marketplace - RLabs have proposed a social venture, OutFin, that aims to provide financial administration outsourcing services where young people from underserved communities are equipped with the digital numeracy, data and financial software skills that will enable them to provide high quality work for accounting departments in companies. The work includes tasks that are generally labour intensive for bookkeepers or accountants such as Invoice imaging, tagging and storing, expense reporting data and any other financial data services which enable accurate financial reporting and intelligence. These services could also be provided to larger financial services companies such as banks who want to provide additional value added services to their corporate and business clients.

ED/SD Funding Access - As per South Africa’s local BEE legislation, mid to large (listed)companies are incentivized to invest 3% of their revenue into skills development and SMMEprocurement to receive BEE points. Large companies with internal compliance teams areable to manage this, but mid-size companies with smaller budgets are not.  Thesecompanies often approach funding in an ad hoc and untimely manner, resulting in limitedimpact from the funding allocated or not receiving the BEE points they aspire to achieve.There is therefore a large pool of capital available from mid-sized that could be channelledinto funding various digital skills training organisations that achieves both BEE complianceand impact. FutureMe and LEAD Impact would be developing a Digital Skills Menu that aims to productize their digital skills offerings which could then be to various South African corporations as part of their ED/SD spend.

Status Update

September 2021

Impact Amplifier has announced partnerships with five leading digital skills organisations to work on ecosystem intervention projects. Read more on the partnerships here.