Digital Skills Development

Here’s why skills development is essential for young people

Young people in South Africa have been uniquely affected by the covid-19 pandemic in ways that both hinder and reshape their participation in economic growth. 

Most schools and universities have either closed or have transitioned from full time to part-time which resulted in young people being negatively impacted by the lack of education for some good long months.

This, however, has offered young South Africans a fresh perspective – a transition from classroom to online learning format. 

When young people are online, it creates opportunities for them to find work, build skills and increase their income with with online jobs. How familiar are young people with the jobs available for them to do?

Why is skills development critical for young people?

Stages of skills Development

This pandemic has caused an increase in unemployment. It seems far worse for last year’s matriculants who had plans to enter the market this year, or recent graduates.

Companies and organisations have cut staff and salaries in half, and the companies that are employing people – are looking for those with experience.  So what choice does a young person have?

Unless companies and organisations change their way of hiring people, it is important now, more than ever that a young person is well-equipped to enter the workforce. Despite being educated, skills are somewhat needed to get the job done. This is is what young people need to aim for. 

Organisations, Government and companies are creating online courses and training programs  to try and fix this issue by running a range of programs to support youth with developing employability skills that will be valued and needed in the marketplace.

I believe that the more a person knows about digital and technology, the more appealing they will be to a company or the organisation they want to serve. Digital literacy involves getting young people to become familiar with a variety of technologies so that they can use their skills to learn how to use any software, tool, or device within a potential company.

Did you know? Two-thirds of young people report that they’re economically affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and 46% of black youth who are not in school or university are also unemployed. These findings have recently been reported from the first wave of lockdown (20 May to 18 June).

Sadly many education institutes and higher learning institutes do not teach these skills as they have chosen to focus on general linear education, academic (how to read and write your profession) and later professional education (learn how to do your job). As we all know,young people need practice  and confidence by being offered the opportunity of open and authentic experiences in solving a wide range of problems because the most important skill young people need to develop before entering the workforce, is problem-solving skills.

Here are some of the skills development young people need to succeed in this new economy:

1. Problem solving skills

As I’ve said previously, the most important skill young people can develop before entering the workforce, is problem solving skills. Today’s economy no longer depends on physical work entirely. Workers need to be able to adapt to all sorts of problems that may come up.

Young people need to be well-versed in global problems and solutions. Unlike the past where employees will only deal with people in their region, young people will now have to work with people all over the world. It’s important for them to understand and appreciate real-time work issues, other cultures, work ethics, global protocols, legalities, different etiquette, various management skills and so on.

2. Youth entrepreneurship

Nowadays companies want workers who are forward-thinkers, and who can initiate changes and ideas on their own. While not all young people will end up going into business, those who end up working for companies still need a sense of entrepreneurship to succeed in today’s workforce.

Employers  are looking for people who can provide value and make a difference in their company – as well as someone who can do more than the expected list of duties due to the demand for digital services and therefore, skills

3. Curiosity and a love of learning

Having said all of that, employers also look for well-rounded individuals in the workplace. Someone who loves to learn is always an asset to their company. And the more you learn, the more you know, the more rounded you’ll be.

“Our future is indefinite, so there is no limit to what workers in the future may need to learn” – adapted from skillsyouneed

Young people really need to hold on to the curiosity and the love of learning they possessed as children. A study done by a group of experts with a project called ‘why you stop learning’, found that 56% of people stop learning after receiving a certificate of completion. That is why, it is so important for young people to learning in the right context, and walk away with important skills.

4. Applying logic – to work with data

In this new economy, big data has become crucial for business strategies and consumer targeting. Learning how to access, mine, assess, analyse and visualise data information is incredibly important for any new employee. Companies, government, organisations – are making use of valuable data for research, planning, selling, advertising, marketing – pretty much everything. 

5. Self knowledge, confidence and emotional intelligence

Young people need to know themselves well enough to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Communication skills are necessary in order to contribute and participate in the economies as well as communities. Without great communication skills, and the confidence to have your say – you will not be offered the opportunity to create, innovate or lead. 

Digital skills development programs offered by Change News Digital include all of these to ensure that disadvantaged young people are also included in the future work-force.

Click here if you would like to leave your details for notifications or alerts when there are digital skills programs available for you to join.

I hope you have found value in this post and don’t forget to leave your comment below. You can also share this article on social media with those who might benefit.


Once again thanks for your time. You’ve reached the end. Don’t forget to continue learning and growing your skills to better your future and succeed in this new economy.

– Phumzile Ntjan


Women Empowerment

Here’s why women’s month is an opportunity for economic development

Women are not only mothers, wives and caregivers in their own family; they also play the biggest role in economic development. Women’s contribution in training and empowering others has also grown, expanding their care and support to the country at large.

In South Africa, women’s hard earned recognition started on 9th August 1956, a period in time that saw more than 20 000 women unite at the Union Buildings in Pretoria to challenge that a woman’s place is  ‘everywhere’ – not only in the kitchen.

The protest included the fight against all laws that oppressed women and laws that saw decisions made for them by men. These women were led by strong leaders we recognise and respect today.  Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia William De Bruyn. 

Women's month

We need to recognise important contributions women make and stop to ponder on the advances in women’s rights.

Today, the 9th of August is celebrated as Women’s Day to recognise the courage and commitment women showed (and continue to commit to), to change the future of women in South Africa. 

“Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock”

This is an opportunity for women to empower each other to increase their value 10-fold. Our work includes the ability to empower millions of women with digital skills.

The influence of women’s month on the economy:

Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Social Development, supports the aspirations of women wanting to enter the marketplace. In an interview featured on the forum, Zulu said women should start looking for training programs and courses to develop their skills.

“We want women to take advantage of these training programs. Women’s month could be the solution to reduce unemployment and inequality, as well as poverty” said Lindiwe Zulu.

Women are powerful economic drivers. Evidence provided by a campaign called Let’s Grow South Africa, shows that when women join the labour force both in developing and developed countries, in particular as entrepreneurs, the gross domestic product (GDP) increases tremendously.

The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities further aims to address these key concerns that prevent women from having access to opportunities by putting measures in place to promote young women over the next decade.

What is economic development and how do women empower growth?

The words ‘economic development’ sounds like they’re only relevant to businessmen and investors.
Economic development is actually meant for everyone. The same for economic growth. In most cases, many confuse economic growth and development because they have similar meanings and are often used interchangeably but they’re two different economic terms.

The Key Difference explains this in laymen terms, where economic growth reflects the positive change in the real output of the country in a particular span of time – with quantitative data.


Women's economic development


Economic development is not about numbers but instead measures early childhood education, social welfare, skills development and training with qualitative data. So when women empower others to develop their skills and increase their knowledge, in our case through online courses and training, they grow the value of women in the marketplace.

This enhances development and access to resources. Resources which were previously only limited to mostly men.

To summarise, here’s how women’s month can contribute to economic development:

  • Women’s month encourages women to empower one another, through success stories and skills development and training.
  • Enhancing and growing women’s participation through training and development is a great solution to reduce poverty.
  • Research done by the World Bank Group proves that women’s economic development also increases child support and child survival.

Women should not be denied access to participate in economic development.  It does not matter whether it’s in the form of getting a job, building your career or creating multiple streams of income from the comfort of your home.

This means even stay at home moms can participate in the growth of economic development. The only prerequisite to participate is to take advantage of skills development programmes.

Please don’t forget to leave your comment below and share this post on social media with those who might benefit and continue developing their skills with Change News Digital.

Sign up here for communication and alerts about how to access our very affordable digital skills development programme. 


 – Phumzile Ntjana



graduate unemployment

Struggles faced by unemployed graduates in South Africa

Every student looks forward to the day when they can toss their graduation cap in the air and walk out with a qualification in hand.

The gruelling and almost intimidating years spent in tertiary education is a period in time one can never forget because of the hardships and value it upholds. Young hopefuls look forward to fruitful and rewarding work experience after they graduate but things have been rather bleak for many.

According to Statistics South Africa, the unemployment rate of graduates was at 31% for the first quarter of 2019 and the numbers haven’t gotten any better. Graduates have qualifications, but no hope of employment or career development.

What happens to young people after they graduate?

Lindokuhle Tshema, a Journalism graduate from the rural Eastern Cape says:

“I was over the moon when I finally completed my studies and knew that I would be the one to rid my family of poverty”.

Lindokuhle is a daughter of a domestic worker and shares a small home with 5 siblings. She enrolled at Walter Sisulu University in 2011 after her mom encouraged her to do so. She completed her studies in record time.

“My family was excited when I graduated and I couldn’t wait to settle into a job. I was in high spirits and was filled with optimism,” she said.

Her mom, being a single parent, works hard to provide for them and this has been an aching burden on Lindokuhle who is the eldest of 5 children. It has been nearly 6 years and she hasn’t found work in the field she studied for. Lindokuhle describes her situation as discouraging and mildly depressing. She has worked menial jobs just to make ends meet and has lost the drive to carry on job-hunting.

This is a story of many young graduates in South Africa and things couldn’t be worse at this very moment, considering the pandemic.

How graduates feel about the recruitment process:

Has anyone stopped and asked a graduate about their experiences of job-seeking? Graduates feel like the system has failed them. Some have fortunately been able to find other means of income through self-initiated projects. There are very limited opportunities, if any – where recruiters or experts take time to guide graduates on how to obtain employment at large corporate companies or organisations.

Caption: Thabo, an unemployed Media Studies graduate, had started a soccer team in his township
whilst he waits to be employed. Photograph by Lulama Gaushe


“We don’t understand what recruiters are looking for. Every rejection leave us feeling despondent.”

What is the solution for unemployed graduates?

We need initiatives aimed at unemployed graduates. Pair us with experts to help get our foot in the door. Through these initiatives we are able to pinpoint areas of concern and find ways to determine successful outcomes.  Surely, our lack of experience is not going to be the pinnacle point that determines our future.

With initiatives that support us, we don’t have to desperately apply for any menial job that come our way just to put food on the table.