Technology is transforming our world. We know this. Trends such as mobility, cloud, Internet of Things, social networking and big data analytics keep reshaping the business environment. Employees can now work from anywhere, anytime, using any device. These professional trends are now a part of our private lives, changing the way in which we communicate, collaborate, and manage our downtime.
Tech is ever-present; it’s part and parcel of life. In order for the next generation of entrepreneurs, business leaders, CIOs, and IT managers to be better prepared to excel in work and at home, we need to better prepare today’s students, graduates, and job seekers with the right skills, training and work experience. It has to be top priority because, let’s face it, if we don’t the result will be a dramatic widening of an already prevalent skills shortage, which is a product of the mismatch that exists between the skills possessed by job seekers and the level of skills required in the labour market. For instance, local universities are still not educating software engineers adequately enough for the job. Too much emphasis is being placed on theory, not enough on actually ‘doing’. Graduates are walking into work inadequately prepared for the workplace, and without a portfolio of complete work.
The solution is simple: hands-on training through internships that count for something. We started the AppFactory at Microsoft to try to negate the skills shortage issue by backing those aspiring developers, putting them in paid internships and getting them to work, building real-world applications. It’s all about the end result, be it full-time employment or establishing a startup.
Yes, South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates globally, but technology can change all that. As leading businesses in South Africa, we have a responsibility to address this problem. We should be working together to build innovative programmes that will convert unemployment into job creation, and address the skills gap. By investing in skills development, businesses will not only create jobs but will help empower go-getters capable of establishing their own companies to deliver greater levels of sustainable employment. We believe that. We think you do too.