Plugging the South African skills drain

Issue 2/3 2023 Training & Education, News & Events

Investing in young South African talent has become critical as skills slip out of the country. There has to be talent to fill the gaps of tomorrow by investing in the people of today, says Christel Schoeman, Technical Engagement Lead: Data and Analytics & Talent at Altron Karabina.

Talent is rare and it is slipping out of corporate fingers. It needs to be nurtured to build the skilled workforce that organisations need to thrive in the era of digital enlightenment. Companies need to focus on implementing programmes that address the growing skills shortage and reimagine the talent profile of the country.

McKinsey describes the need for skills development in business as ‘Ops 4.0’. It is focused talent momentum that engages with people beyond the classrooms, taking their skills development into projects and environments that ignite learning and empower personal growth. Here, within office hallways, in meetings, and in real-world engagements, workers can expand their skillsets and apply their understanding in ways that embed the learnings and create connections. As times become increasingly uncertain and challenging to navigate, organisations need to put talent development at the heart of the business.

This is particularly true in South Africa where good business should not just sit on the foundations of customer service delivery and reliability, but on helping people across every layer of the company to embrace digital skillsets and capabilities. Digital literacy and the ability to use technology have become key skills for people, regardless of their roles within a company. Since the pandemic, firms across every industry and niche have begun to invest in digital solutions and digitised platforms as a standard, which means that those who don’t have access to training and skills development run the risk of being left behind.

The digital train

This is not an acceptable reality. People can’t be left standing on the manual station as the digital train pulls off – the success of the economy and business relies on having a workforce that can engage with digital tools and that can be gainfully employed within the digital economy. Skills development benefits everyone.

For South Africa, the factors that play into the current skills crisis are layered. On one hand, there is the need to give youth more opportunities to evolve their talents and potential; on the other, there is the sustained talent drain as people leave the country due to local challenges and the global virtualisation of the workforce. South Africans are opting into working for international companies while staying in South Africa; it’s an intellectual semi-emigration that’s fundamentally affecting the organisation’s ability to source and retain talent.

This is one of the core reasons behind the development of the Altron Karabina Graduate Programme that’s designed to deliver deep educational impact within the walls of the organisation. Altron Karabina designed the programme with the youth in mind, helping them build relevant skill sets that will have a positive impact.

The objective of the programme, along with supporting young people, is to mitigate the current impact of the skills drain and catapult people into careers, opening up doorways to opportunity. This, a cohesive investment into people, their training is how to exponentially catapult growth across individuals and industries.

Replenishing the skills gap with foundational skills enhancement and training will ensure that the talent of tomorrow is available. People are given the opportunity to thrive on local soil and with local companies. Altron Karabina is committed to creating well-rounded consultants with real-world experience within a programme that evolves within the business and for its people. The future isn’t in the hands of the individual, it’s in the heart of the organisation that provides pathways for growth that allow individuals to thrive.

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