While the full impact of COVID-19 on South Africa is still unclear, we can all agree that this pandemic has brought both negative and positive change for businesses. Looking at the socio-economic consequences caused by this pandemic, businesses have been faced with difficult decisions as the pandemic forced an increased unemployment rate and loss of income for both employers and employees. It has also forced businesses to consider the need for more digital technology in their operations and the importance thereof. With businesses required to adapt to new norms like working from home and utilizing the digital video platforms, the pandemic has created an opportunity for more training and self-improvement. The combined effect of the 4IR and the COVID-19 pandemic will compel companies to change not only the way they work, but also the manner in which they upskill their employees.
Change is needed within the Skills Development sector.
South Africa currently has over 7million people who are unemployed, and it is the youth who is finding it the most problematic as they cannot secure proper job opportunities. Due to the current pandemic, a lot of families have lost their only source of income and they are looking to the younger generation to step up, which are almost impossible due to the low educational levels and professional skills gaps. This also raises concerns about any possible future skills gaps that could be created due to the standstill or disruption within the educational sector. People can not get better paying jobs because they cannot afford to educate themselves, and as a result they will remain trapped in poverty.
This is the era of 4IR, and businesses need to better evaluate the outlook they have on Skills Development and upskilling their employees. The Department of Higher Education and Training has made it their priority to identify which occupations need skills the most, are in high demand, and to link education to the workplace. There needs to be an alternative method of bringing education to the people. TVET colleges are seen as a priority by the government as they strive to further educate the people. By securing funding for these colleges they can implement the skills programmes required.
Invest in your employees, invest in the skills development process!
You will be contributing to South Africa’s recovery from COVID-19 and the future of our country by enabling a more skilled workforce, which will snowball when these employees are employed into better paying positions, contributing to their overall wellness, as well as South Africa’s economic future.
Everyone is on edge about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the current changes and turbulence that goes with it. We need to be more proactive and start planning for the future of South African businesses. The only way to mitigate these changes is by implementing a bulletproof strategy and start implementing these Skills Development operations to ensure the wellbeing of our country’s socio-economic dimension.