Media Statement: Sebokeng youth encouraged to embrace opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution


“At the heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is a people centred response that speaks to jobs, skills and broad economic participation. The onus is therefore upon young people of this region to take heed of the vast opportunities presented by this revolution to ensure that you are active economic participants in the digital era.”

This was articulated by the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at the Technology Innovation Open Day (Tech Open Day) held at Vaal University of Technology (VUT) Science Park in Sebokeng on Friday, 28 June 2019.

Hosted in commemoration of Youth Month and as a build-up to the inaugural Digital Economy Summit, Tech Open Day saw over 500 university students and young people from Sebokeng, get a first-hand experience of technological innovations from industry players such as VUT, CISCO, NEMISA, TAM Gaming and Huawei.

VUT demonstrated various 3D printing products, which were designed by campus students; NEMISA conducted training on digital radio production and TAM Gaming introduced the young minds to e-sports and the evolution of gaming. In partnership with CISCO, Mr Manqoba Zungu provided key insights into how their mentorship programme, GetReady, increases the ability of unemployed graduates to earn an income.

In collaboration with Geekulcha, the event also saw young coders from Pretoria, Johannesburg and the Vaal competing in a user-centred mini-hackathon on 4IR solutions.

Speaking about Huawei’s demonstration “5G, pave the way to 4IR” CEO, Spawn Fan said, “5G technology is the next generation of mobile tech. It can enable all industries and further assist to grow the country’s economy by creating more jobs. The combination of technology such as 5G, AI, Big data and internet of things can create an intelligent world.”

Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams further mentioned that skills development is an important pillar to appropriately position the nation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). “We have also begun examining capacity requirements for the 4IR, specifically identifying current jobs and the extent of their vulnerability with the emergence of automation. This is critical to ensure informed skills interventions and directing skills development initiatives towards addressing the needs of the digital economy,” she said.

In her 2018 Budget Vote, the Minister announced that the department would embark on the “Building a Capable 4IR Army” programme to ensure that communities are equipped to take advantage of new digital technologies, unlock future jobs and drive competitiveness. This includes skills and capacity development initiatives aimed at ensuring that, amongst others, one million young people are trained in data science and related skills by 2030.

To this end and through a partnership with MICT SETA, 1000 young people are being trained on Data Science, Digital Content Production, 3D Printing, Cybersecurity, Drone Piloting, Software Development and Cloud Computing.

The Digital Economy Summit will take place on Friday, 5 July 2019 at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand. His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the opening keynote address.

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