CapaCiTi announced today that it was awarded a competitive bid to train and empower 1,700 youth with critical digital skills to address the digital deficit in South Africa’s growing digital economy, over the next two years. The project has been awarded over R54 million in grant funding and has raised a further commitment of R64 million, bringing the total commitment towards changing the future of unemployed youth to over R118 million.
This exciting project targets the entire digital skills value chain, from facilitating the future digital generation in schools, to addressing the current skills gap in the digital transformation industry and developing skills for high-growth industries. The digital economy is a key growth sector for Presidential employment and economic initiatives, and the bioeconomy is an important growth area for the 2030 National Development Plan.
This is the second multi-year project award for CapaCiTi, in partnership with National Treasury’s Job Fund, focused on digital skills acceleration for youth in South Africa. The first project successfully trained more than 2,300 young unemployed South Africans in digital skills and placed more than 4,000 into job and internship opportunities.
“This is an example of an initiative that has considered both labour demand and supply by effectively responding to the needs of the market and the unemployed youth to promote sustainable job creation. The imperative for the Jobs Fund has always been to catalyse innovation, partner effectively with organisations, such as CapaCiTi, and implement local job creation solutions. I am pleased to say that CapaCiTi is continuing to embrace this call and is working tirelessly to facilitate the supply of critical tech skills in the economy and providing youth with sustainable job opportunities”, says Najwah Allie-Edries, Head of Jobs Fund.
“We have a deep understanding of the digital value chain and what it takes to train and enable our talented youth to take their rightful place in the digital economy”, says Fiona Tabraham, Chief Executive of CapaCiTi. “We are dedicated to making an impact on the unemployment and skills crisis in South Africa whilst building a digital talent pipeline for the tech ecosystem, but we can’t do that without our valued partners.”
To address the identified presidential growth areas, CapaCiTi partnered with key stakeholders to make this project a reality, the corporate partners include Absa, Old Mutual, Accenture and EOH, all of whom have committed to hiring graduates of the project. NPO, Government and other partners include Gauteng City Region Academy, a branch of the Gauteng Department of Education (GCRA), Click Learning, Naspers Labs, Younglings and the French Embassy.
The project will allow multiple entry points for the youth into the digital ecosystem via collaboration with partners in three distinct areas, namely future-focused skills, current technical skills gap and the growth industry of biotechnology. It is expected to result in 1,500 job placements for young people.
Our future-focus element, in partnership with the Click Learning, will train 800 digital facilitators who will be placed in primary schools to improve foundational literacy, numeracy and digital skills of primary school learners through online programmes. Click Learning is an NGO that helps under-serviced primary schools in South Africa, allowing young learners to work at their own pace and navigate their learning journey by means of technology. Through this future-focus project, we will create 668 permanent jobs for unemployed youth over the next two years.
To address the current, immediate technical skills gap, CapaCiTi will train 700 youth in in-demand skills such as cloud, data analytics and full-stack development over two years for jobs in key industry partners that are committing both matched funding to the value of R34 million and over 600 jobs for trained youth on graduation. In addition, the Gauteng City Region Academy, a branch of the Gauteng Department of Education, will fund stipends for Gauteng-based beneficiaries to complete Work Integrated Learning Programmes over the next two years.
To stimulate and support the Biotechnology growth industry CapaCiTi is partnering with UVU Bio Labs (previously BioCiTi Labs) to create a talent pipeline for the industry by training 240 laboratory staff. The aim is to nurture lab skills through immersion in a world-class laboratory, data management application skills and work-readiness to support their career acceleration into the bioeconomy, creating over 170 jobs in the industry.
“While progress has been made in increasing access to digital skills, many continue to face difficulty when it comes to career opportunities or furthering their career in a digital world that is ever evolving. We, as Absa, are working with CapaCiTi to further unlock partnership opportunities. We are thrilled to be a part of a solution that addresses the digital deficit in our country’s economy; by focusing on practical ways of supporting youth employability. To be part of a programme that enables a bigger and richer talent pool that in turn drives organisational innovation and productivity and builds upon contributions to society, we are living true to being an active force for good,” says Johnson Idesoh, Group Chief Information and Technology Officer at Absa.
Ziaad Suleman, EOH Group Chief Commercial Officer, says, “EOH is delighted to collaborate with CapaCiti in assisting the youth with Digital Skills development and subsequent employment. This provides them with purpose and allows them to meaningfully participate in the mainstream economy. These efforts will not only support the local technology ecosystem but will go a long way to position South Africa as a Technology Hub which takes advantage of the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Mapule Ncanywa, Head of Naspers Labs says, “Congratulations to CapaCiTi on being awarded this significant grant, which will have a meaningful impact on the lives of our young people and will equip them with the much-needed skills and opportunities to enter the digital economy. Through this partnership, Naspers Labs has been able to provide 250 digital skills and job opportunities to unemployed graduates and are looking forward to growing this number in the following years. This award is a true testament to government’s recognition of the importance of developing and growing our country’s digital talent.”
Dheepak Maharajh, the Executive Cluster Head of BioCiTi Labs, says, “The bioeconomy of SA is growing rapidly, and the Covid-19 pandemic has boosted this growth through the rapid emergence of the vaccine industry. The need for skills in this area and other bioeconomy business areas has become very apparent as the gap between university graduates and Industry needs widens. BioCiTi has the skills and laboratory resources to provide hands-on laboratory exposure to fill this gap and ensure school leavers and graduates are provided with the critical and scarce skills in bioprocessing and General Biotechnology, skills needed for the bioeconomy to thrive.”
“We are thrilled that CapaCiTi is working with partners that really care about impacting the youth of the country as well as National Treasury’s Jobs Fund, which has trusted us again to implement the second multi-year project. We are driven to enable greater inclusion within the digital economy by providing the necessary digital skills training opportunities across South Africa”, says Ian Merrington, Group CEO of UVU Africa.
If you are inspired by this project and interested in getting involved, CapaCiTi invites you to contact Fiona Tabraham to discuss ways in which you and your organization too can change the future of our talented youth.
CapaCiTi is the digital career accelerator of the UVU Africa Group, building future-fit, inclusive societies through technology and innovation, across Africa
Name: Fiona Tabraham
Title: Chief Executive of CapaCiTi
Mobile: 065 897 2814