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 gov.za 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

 

 
























Women Entrepreneurs - How to build your own website - Womens Month

Why it’s so important for Entrepreneurs to have their own website

The world as we know it, is going through a really interesting transformation and as we’ve come to realise, that after this pandemic the world we used to know will never be the same again – especially when it comes to how we do business as entrepreneurs.

 

Covid-19 has taught entrepreneurs one of the greatest lessons they will never forget – the reliance on physical stores / businesses – and the lack of digital integration. For every lesson you learn, there’s an opportunity to explore changes to survive or thrive. And that opportunity for entrepreneurs is having a website presence. This is  important now more than ever, because everything is going digital.

Women Entrepreneurs - How to build your own website - Womens Month

 

How is the world changing the way we do business?

Money became currency in the 7th Century, and now currency is moving from notes to digital. Some people refer to this as crypto-currency or bitcoins. And when crypto-currency becomes widely used, many people will be buying and selling online, moving us into an online transactional, cashless society.

Those who have already leaped ahead to embrace the change are now billionaires. Jeff Bezos for example, saw this trend early in the 90s, when he created a website for his bookstore at that time, which grew and became one of the largest retail stores in the world. Amazon has been financially rewarding for its stakeholders during lockdown as everyone stayed at home and were forced to buy online. The same goes for Jack Ma’s Alibaba e-commerce store.

South African entrepreneurs are realising the importance of having a website.

How your website can be valuable and profitable for you: 

  1. e-commerce: Most South African entrepreneurs are not even aware of this e-commerce boom. But we’re all getting there. South Africans, like Theo Baloyi, founded Bathu – a shoe company in 2015. He chose to have a digital presence and an e-commerce store (selling his shoes online). This has helped earn the Bathu brand a rewarding growth – and they’re growing exponentially. We need more South Africans to realise their potential by having a digital presence.

2. Blogging for business: Why do most entrepreneurs fail to build a profitable website? 
A website doesn’t necessarily have to be an e-commerce store. You can start a blog, yeah.. a blog. Back in those days, blogging was just a hobby for writers where people would share stories with like minded people, or where you could just write about your interest, and experience with those who have the same passion.

But now you can choose to blog as a writer, or blog as a business. A writer’s blog is not profitable, and when you ask them about how much they make, they’ll simply tell you that they’re not doing it for the money. But a business blog is aimed at making sales and earning revenue.

A survey done by Forbes proves that those who blog as a hobby have 78% of their blogs ending up in failure, within the first 3 to 5 years because after some time, they realise that the passion they put into writing without being profitable extends to them experiencing burnout. Bloggers begin to procrastinate until they give up writing on their own blogs.

Here’s how you should blog as a business entrepreneur:

When blogging as an entrepreneur, the main purpose is to grow your sales and increase your business revenue, your content marketing strategy (blogs that tell people about what you’re good at) should be created to generate leads (people who could be interested in what your website offers) and turn them into customers.

You should know that conversion (people who could be interested in your offering turned into people who want to pay for your offering) is more important than clicks (people clicking on your website to read and then go away without doing anything) and impressions (how many times your business information shows up on the internet but no one is reacting to it because they don’t know what it’s about and nothing interesting made them click) so you need to work more on crafting a compelling blog / story, every time,  to attract qualified leads (people who will make an effort to contact you for your service or product). If people don’t like it, it’s not compelling enough for them so the the psychology of a human being needs to understand or relate to first before they contact you. Write blogs that will educate someone about your service or product. eg: If you’re good at baking birthday cakes, then your blogs should be about “Important tips to bake moist cakes” or “great tips to make icing that is not too sweet” . This will allow people to trust that you can bake great birthday cakes because you know what you’re doing. 

In conclusion: Here’s how a website can help an entrepreneur grow their business:

  1. Your website can help you market and sell your business 24/7
  2. It can reach hundred of thousands of people who are online everyday to increase awareness of your website.
  3. You can attract customers to buy your products and services.
  4. You will be able to connect and communicate with people interested in your website or what you want to sell, at any time of day.
  5. It allows people to find you on the internet and creates a bit of trust with your customer by allowing them to see more of your business.
  6. It will help your business show up on Google which can help you attract customers.
  7. It can help reduce support calls and improve overall customer satisfaction.

Without a website, potential buyers could be going to your competitors who are online. 

If you are looking to build a website, consider doing it with WordPress. It’s cheap, easy and very popular. Most big businesses and media websites use WordPress to build their websites with. If you’d like us to teach you in a simple step by step process on how to create your own website (no coding needed), then register for our online short course that is available on the Cornerstone Institute’s website. You will walk away with building your own website which is simple and easy,  and  a certificate of completion at the end of the short course. The cost of the course is only R2,250. 

Click here to register for our short course on “How to Build Your Own Website” at R2,250.

in partnership with South Africa’s accredited Higher Learning Institution, Cornerstone Institute,
– in order to make digital literacy affordable to most South Africans. 

Once again, we hope you’ve found this post valuable. Leave your comment below, and don’t forget to share this post on social media, with those who might benefit from it.

Digital Skills Training and Development Africa

The importance of digital skills for young people in developing countries

We used to live in the agricultural age, a world of farmers where a child would grow up and work in the field. Then came the industrial age where a child would have to learn development of trade, how to build machinery or how to work the machinery to work in various industries. People would use some sort of technology to take industries to the next level. Today, we are in the 4th Industrial Revolution but unemployment is higher than ever amongst young people who should be equipped with the skills needed.

This is not the time for the old digital media where young people learn to write and read about celebrity gossip. This is a new world where digital and technology skills are important to young people.

It is critical for Africa to prepare its young leaders for a world that is requires complex problem solving. A world where collaboration is more important than competition.

Our young people from Africa need to learn about empathy and adaptability. While empathy helps with solving critical world issues, adaptability helps us change when times require change.

Did you know, in the digital world we live in – just like in nature –  it’s not the tough and strong who survive, but those who can adapt to change.

The World Development Report 2019, said that the labour market of the future will require new skills, including digital fluency.

Digital skills to influence the future

With all the demand for change, Africa will have to equip its youth with appropriate digital skills. Since they dominate 60% of the continent.

That’s more than half of all Africa’s population. Preparing young people from developing countries with digital skills will help the continent with growth and innovation. This will reduce the unemployment rate and close the gap between the rich and the poor.

The best way to fight poverty is to work together to eliminate this inequality.  So far, countries like South Africa and Rwanda are doing a great job trying to fight this. With companies like Change News Digital whose purpose is to change how we think about new storytelling, new ways of communicating, learning how to interpret data to influence positive changes and making use of giant technology companies like Google and Facebook to penetrate a global market. 

How can we prioritise digital skills in developing countries?

According to eTrade, by 2030 there will be an estimated two billion young people seeking new opportunities. If we work together as Africans, we can teach these young people digital skills which will give them access to multiple streams of income and help achieve their full potential.

In fact, education is a great tool for learning and growth.

New education will change how young people learn

Our school system need to encourage change in how they learn.

Why teach young people to calculate area to find location in a topographical map or orthophoto map when they can just find a location by navigating Google Maps. These are just some things that prove our education system is hindering opportunities for  young people to be digitally advanced. 

Here’s how important it is to develop youth with digital skills to grow Africa’s economy:

We now need linchpins, those who will connect buyers and sellers. Learn how to sell in a digital world or teach others how to navigate this powerful digital world.

I just recently engaged with a group on Facebook, and what a wonderful group that shared ideas and strategies about this world we now live in.

The group has young people who want to better their future by starting their own journey, walking their own path. And that’s what we need. Young people with ambitious goals to achieve their dreams.

In conclusion

To become more competitive and follow this fast paced digital world of technology and innovation, young people need to develop new skills for the future. With automation and AI taking charge of the physical and the most repetitive tasks, we need more emotional labour than physical labour.

This modern economy is changing from agricultural and industrial economies, to information and digital economies. These are worlds where knowledge is more critical than just information. Context is more important than content, where you need to learn all kinds of digital skills.

There can still be time for social and cultural development, but how young people consume content needs to change.

I hope you found value in this post, don’t forget to leave your comment below, and share this post on social media.