Today, the National Electronic Media Institute in South Africa (NEMISA), a non-for profit institute for education deriving from the mandate of the South African Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, is announcing a partnership with Coursera, the global online learning platform, to upskill unemployed and under-employed citizens in South Africa.
In line with recommendations provided by Coursera’s newly launched Global Skills Report 2021, aimed at helping governments, workforce and industry leaders better understand the latest skill trends and their relationship to economic resilience and growth, NEMISA’s upskilling initiative will focus on strengthening the country’s skills proficiency in key digital domains like machine learning and software development.
“It’s exciting to see South Africa becoming more proficient across many digital skills, according to Coursera’s 2021 Global Skills Report”, said Trevor Rammitlwa, CEO of NEMISA, “We’re thrilled that our partnership with Coursera will allow the local workforce to access more than 5,000 world-class courses from leading university and industry partners to support the country and its citizens in our journey towards becoming digital first.”
The Global Skills Report draws on performance data since the pandemic’s onset from more than 77 million learners on the platform to benchmark skills proficiency across business, technology, and data science for over 100 countries. South Africa appears to be increasingly competitive in digital skills, according to the report. Specifically, skills proficiency for cloud computing is at 54%, machine learning at 51%, and software engineering at 50%. These skills are all part of NEMISA’s new upskilling programme, indicating greater prospects of progression in the country’s future rankings.
The South African economy has been in decline since it entered a stringent lockdown and the country’s unemployment rate is persistently high over time, hovering above 20% over the last decade. Access to a variety of job-relevant credentials, including pathways to entry-level digital jobs via programmes like NEMISA’s, will be key to reskilling the country at scale and accelerating economic recovery.
Initially, NEMISA’s programme will roll-out in the following provinces: Limpopo, Kwazulu Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, North West, Free State, Northern Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
“We’re honored to partner with NEMISA to help thousands of citizens earn the skills they need to re-enter the workforce in high-demand digital domains,” said Anthony Tattersall, VP of EMEA, Coursera. “NEMISA’s programme will play an important role in unlocking the country’s full potential in these areas.”
According to the Global Skills Report 2021, South Africa is also considered cutting-edge in several digital skills such as Data Visualization (94% skills proficiency), Web Development (77% skills proficiency), and Security Engineering (71% skills proficiency).
Other key insights from this year’s Global Skills Report include the skills and time required to prepare for entry-level roles globally:
Recent graduates and mid-career changers can develop entry-level, digital job skills in as little as 35 to 70 hours (or 1-2 months with 10 learning hours per week). On the other hand, someone with no degree or technology experience can be job-ready in 80 to 240 hours (or 2-6 months with 10 learning hours per week).
Learners must invest in both soft and technical skills to stay job-relevant in a rapidly evolving labor market. For example, an entry-level cloud computing role like a Computer Support Specialist requires learning both soft skills like problem solving and organizational development, and technical skills such as security engineering and computer networking. Similarly, entry-level marketing roles require data analysis software and digital marketing skills in addition to soft skills like strategy, creativity, and communication.
The most transferable skills across all future jobs are in human skills like problem solving and communication, computer literacy, and career management. Foundational skills like business communication and digital literacy enable workers to participate in increasingly tech-heavy and global work environments. As people change jobs more frequently, job search and career planning skills will be critical to role transitions and sustaining employment.
With 77 million learners globally – 2.4 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, 6,000 institutions, and more than 5,000 courses from the world’s leading universities and industry educators, Coursera has one of the largest data sets for identifying and measuring skill trends. This year’s report is further enriched by the pandemic-driven trends, including 30 million new learners who joined the platform in 2020.
To find out more about NEMISA’s upskilling programme and apply, visit here. To download the full Coursera Global Skills Report report, visit https://www.coursera.org/global-skills-report.