Tag Archives: skills

Telkom SA calls for digital economy summit (South Africa)

-fs-Sipho-Maseko-1-2018.xlTelkom South Africa has called for a multi-sectoral digital economy summit to be convened and attended by operators, the industry regulator, vertical market representatives, tertiary education institutions and other telecommunications industry stakeholders.

In his keynote address to delegates at the 2018 Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference (SATNAC), Group CEO Telkom SA Sipho Maseko said this would provide a forum to address the question of how to generate economic growth.

The question of how relevant stakeholders will contribute had to be asked and answered.

These questions are not only for operators said Maseko, and it is envisaged that the platform would serve as a forum for all stakeholders to state their position.

Maseko identified several drivers of economy including investment in infrastructure to deliver ubiquitous connectivity, skills and subject matter experts across the spectrum, fair competition and regulation.

In addition to the role of data within an ever-changing market and the influence of the digitised consumer, Maseko also touched upon the issue of regulation.

Telkom SA remains embroiled in a dispute with ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of SA) regarding plans to reduce call termination rates – the price mobile and fixed network operators charge each other for terminating calls between networks.

According to a recent ITWeb report, the company has affirmed that unless the regulator’s draft call termination rates are not amended, it may have to change its business model, stop operations in rural areas and possibly have to cut jobs.

It has reportedly issued a counter-proposal to ICASA and stated that under the regulator’s proposed changes, it would “continue to effectively subsidise the larger mobile network operators.”

Government’s intention and objectives behind the wireless open access network proposed in the draft Electronic Communications Amendment Bill has also attracted widespread attention within the local telecommunications space.

“Regulation and policy can be a big enabler for data growth… but regulation must keep up with the market and tech advances. Regulators sometimes almost exclude themselves from the debate. The question is how do we get the economy to recover?” said Maseko.

He also cautioned that call termination rates and proposals have not recognised the fact that the market has converged, and regulation has to enable investment.

source: www.itwebafrica.com

Irish education system needs ‘profound changes’ to secure digital future

The managing director of Accenture Ireland has warned that Ireland needs to make “profound” changes to its education system to ensure the country is equipped to secure the next wave of jobs in the digital economy.

Alastair Blair, who is also chair of Ibec’s digital economy policy committee, says the advent of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality may require a move to a more modular education system to ensure the future workforce has the necessary depth and breadth of skills.

“Traditionally, Ireland has had access to deep skills and the availability of a young and educated workforce,” said Blair, who believes the protection of digital jobs requires a long-term commitment from government, academia and industry working together.

“There is a real opportunity for Ireland to position itself well. However, there is a need for a profound change to our education system to take advantage of the next wave of jobs,” he said.

Blair said Accenture, which acquired Irish creative agency Rothco for a reported €20m this year, is targeting further acquisitions as it is set to mark 50 years in Ireland.

source: www.independent.ie

An organisation in Iraq is working with young people to help “bring the country to a more digital economy”

Re:Coded was founded in 2016 and holds courses for people wishing to learn more about coding.

Zahra Shah, Program Manager at the organisation said: “We launched as a coding school to try and upscale youth here and bring them more towards a digital economy especially in Iraq where a lot of the jobs are provided by the government.

“The economy is not doing great, a lot of the money that comes from oil and gas, they’re not using it to rebuild the country and a lot of that is due to corruption unfortunately. But our solution is that there are so many youth here interested in technology.

Zahra Shah, Program Manager at Iraq Re:Coded said there is a need for coding teachers in the country (Re:Coded)

“So we started a school to cater to that need for youths to have access to that education. Even the students that learn computer science at university, they’re not learning properly how to become computer programmers, it’s very theoretical. We fill that gap by teaching android app development.”

Students can take part in Re:Coded’s five month boot camps or the tech entrepreneurship academy. It’s come at a good time for the country, with the start up and tech industry growing.

Ms Shah has seen the growth first hand having moved to Iraq last August. She said: “I’ve seen so much change already. There is a huge co-working space that opened in Baghdad four months ago in addition to our co-working space in Erbil. I feel that there’s more NGOs as well getting with the programme when it comes to technology.

“A lot of our graduates are being employed because they have the tech skills to leverage that and move their projects forward so I am definitely seeing a difference. People are starting to see the benefit of relying more on technology and doing stuff online, freelancing and entrepreneurship.”

Iraq’s tech scene is growing rapidly and Re:Coded is hoping to get as many women onto the scene as possible (REUTERS)

“Iraq is still behind the rest of the middle east in comparison to Dubai, but even just on a grass-roots level I feel it’s growing so quick and i’m really surprised to see how much it’s changed just from being here in a year so in another five years, I see it going a lot further.” A main focus by the organisation is the need to get women involved in coding.

“We always aim for at least 40 percent women across our projects, in our boot camps, we have 40-50 percent, the same with everything we offer. A minimum of 40 percent is our goal,” Ms Shah added.

For those who graduate from the boot camp, the job prospects are huge. Some have found employment with some of the organisation’s sponsors while others have decided to start their own startup. While others have chosen to teach coding themselves.

The country’s tech and startup industry is starting to grow (Re:Coded)

“In our last boot camp, we had 35 students, of those students that were looking for full-time employment, around 90 percent of them have gone into employment especially in the local economy.

Workers feel unprepared to get jobs in the digital economy (Australia)

Australians earning under $50,000 a year, that are single, aged 40-49 or did not complete high school are most concerned they’ll be out of a job in the new digital economy, but the majority are not doing anything to learn new skills.

A new study from MYOB, presented at The Australian Financial Review Innovation Summit, indicated that 28 per cent of respondents felt “totally unprepared” for the tech-driven changes to the workforce, while only 16 per cent of people felt completely prepared.

“[It’s] been well documented by the OECD is that the relative value of different parts of the value chain is changing. What they’ve commented on is the components at the start of the value chain and end are worth more now than they were in the past and those in the middle are worth relatively less,” Mr Reed said.

“In particular the design and research and development and marketing and services component have lifted in their share of the overall value of the value chain and the logistics and manufacturing are down.”

But overall, Mr Reed was bullish that Australia was positioned well to benefit from this shift in value in the supply chain.

“This is very good for Australia as a small, educated open economy participating in global supply chains. This enables us to focus on the areas that are high value-add, if we have the skills across our workforce to be able to do that,” he said.

The respondents in the MYOB survey rated problem solving, digital security, collaboration, digital data and digital design skills as the most critical for workplaces of the future.

These skills matched up with those identified in a study by local economics firm Alphabeta last year, which found interpersonal, creative, decision making and information synthesis abilities would be critical to the digital economy.

Despite the majority of respondents not being able, or willing, to invest in their own upskilling, Mr Reed said the fact there was alignment in the knowledge of what skills would be needed was cause for optimism.

“I’m really optimistic about the future. I’m far more concerned about the lack of artificial intelligence having the productivity drivers we need than the fear of destroying jobs.

“This data gave me more reasons to be optimistic because the skills that are the high value skills and are needed by companies are seen to be needed by the individuals in Australia. There’s no mismatch in information.

“What we’re not doing enough of is building those skills in individuals.”

Mr Reed proposed that Australia needed to rethink its education models, backing Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott’s idea for a government lifelong learning fund, an impetus in more industries for continuous learning like what occurs in medicine or accounting, as well as more employers being willing to fund employees to undertake new qualifications in exchange for loyalty.

MYOB has implemented a program in which it brings mature-aged women into the business and spends nine months training them to the level of an undergraduate in computer science, on the condition that they agree to work for the company for a set period of time afterwards. This is helping the company tackle gender equality in the tech industry, while also letting it identify new talent.

“That model where there is an implicit investment in skills and also an appreciation from the individual regarding the return on that investment, that’s something we’ll see more of.”

Despite this, over half of the 500 the respondents surveyed said they were not financially prepared to invest in updating their skills and 47 per cent admitted they were not doing anything to update their skills, not even reading leadership books or listening to webinars, let alone undertaking a course.

MYOB chief executive Tim Reed said the Australians most fearful of the shift to the digital economy were those that typically doing roles in the middle of the “value chain”.

source: www.afr.com

Learning to stretch the new standard

learningThe way we learn is changing dramatically. In the past we would rely on formal schooling before we then entered a technical college or university for more learning. Once we entered the workforce it was up to the employer to provide further education through fairly rigid training programs or by providing simple on-the-job experience.

In many ways, we are all the product of the sheep dip approach to learning. We would all be given a quick training treatment and hopefully that was enough. It was the one-size-fits-all approach to education.

How times have changed. The rise of the digital economy is revolutionising training and organisations are keen to provide a more personalised education experience. DeakinCo’s recent report titled Enabling the Future of Work (Skills and Strategies for Learning and Development), identified four main trends that will define learning and industry in this period of transformation:  the rise of digital; the rise of human experience; the rise of “human” skills and the rise of agility.

As these trends play out across business, the learning experience inside organisations is having to change. Employees now need a continuous learning experience which ranges across a whole business and even involves “stretch experiences” where they expand their skills beyond the confines of their role.

What this has meant for learning and development (L&D) professionals is an evolution from being order takers to skills facilitators. In the past the business came to L&D departments with an idea – it might have been to fill up a call centre and train the staff within. It was about formulating a program for learning. This is changing in the digital economy.

Rather than training people to perform a task it is now more about measuring performance outcomes rather than learning outcomes. How are people performing constantly? Are they continually being brought up to speed?

In practical terms, according to the Enabling the Future of Work report, this means further developing performance-consulting skills in L&D professionals to engage with the business and uncover root causes through a consultation or investigative process. It is about empowering employees with capabilities that will help an organisation reach its goals

This could involve redesigning roles and changing an individual’s skills base. Moreover, this change needs to be measurable and that is where the increasing role of data analytics comes into play as it allows us to measure what high performers do. Importantly, it is also about maximising the capabilities of existing employees.

Right now Australia’s top companies are struggling with skills shortages. Changes to our visa laws may have affected our ability to source some of these skills offshore, but it is also unrealistic to make wholesale changes to workforces. Deeper domain skills are a business imperative and working with existing employees ensures those skills remain in an organisation.

Furthermore, according to DeakinCo, keeping these deeper domain skills in an organisation also ensures new employees get an understanding of a business’s inner workings. Put simply: application and doing comes from on-the-job learning from others.

Bearing this in mind, building soft skill capabilities in employees is crucial to the learning experience because a more human-centred approach built around the concept of design thinking and empathy for others aids on-the-job learning. Success in building these skills helps in finding the point of need in an organisation and where it needs to build.

This represents a step change for L&D professionals because organisations now want to better understand the people resource inside an organisation. What are they capable of and are they being utilised to the best of their abilities?

In a rapidly changing world, L&D professionals now occupy a different place at the table in organisations. They are now more highly valued because business performance data can be directly correlated to how employees are trained.

It means L&D are now more connected and involved with the overall business. They are no longer an add-on or a nice to have, but playing a vital role in workplace development in the digital economy.

source: www.afr.com