Engaging youth to build a country’s economy is now a veritable refrain as is driving sustainable growth and inclusive wealth creation. This is best done through reskilling and upskilling, unlearning and relearning through skills development. This will in turn lead to meaningful employment opportunities. Global analytics brand SAS recognises this.
“SAS’s aim is to empower the country’s youth by equipping them with the necessary mindset and skills to navigate and succeed in the digital era. Our internship programme provides a rich blend of hands-on experience coupled with intensive training in analytics, giving the interns invaluable first-hand exposure to the industry,” said Adesh Nathalal, Education Manager, SAS, South Africa.
Keeping in mind the instrumental role youth play in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), SAS highlights the need to continue to provide innovative leadership, internship and mentorship programmes that foster an environment conducive to growth, creativity, and inclusivity.
The composition of this sponsored cohort represents the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) that SAS is fostering to reaffirm a broadening of the demographic representation within South Africa’s tech industry. In addition to fostering equality, SAS will be supporting a cohort of 12 PwDs (persons with disability) in the 2022/23 period. Collaborating with Sparrow FET, the cohort will complete an IT End User Computing NQF3 course over a period of 12 months. “SAS’s partnership with Sparrow FET is a testament to our dedication to inclusivity and diversity within the technology space,” says Nathalal. “We believe in the potential within every individual, and we are proud to sponsor this diverse group of learners.”
These programmes form part of wider strategic partnerships with local universities, fostering a thriving ecosystem of educational growth and skills development. Some of these collaborative initiatives include SAS’s partnership with the Centre for Business Mathematics and Informatics (BMI) at North-West University (NWU) focused on specialist risk and data science skills development. Online events hosted in collaboration with the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN) and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) aimed at Grade 11s to introduce these learners to the exciting world of analytics and data science as possible career opportunities within the field.
Andre Zitzke, Manager, Global Academic Programmes in Africa for SAS, said, “By bridging the gap between academia and industry, we continue to foster a nurturing ecosystem that encourages young talent to explore and excel in the exciting world of data science.” Additionally, last year UKZN in collaboration with SAS launched Teachers4DataAnalytics, a workshop programme that aims to reach hundreds of teachers and provide them with the knowledge and tools to inspire their students to pursue careers in data analytics. “We are shaping the next generation of tech leaders who will steer South Africa into the promising era of 4IR and beyond, helping to solidify the country’s position on the global digital stage,” stated Zitzke.
Involvement in the Teachers4DataAnalytics programme forms part of the company’s bigger programme focused on secondary education and provides a bridge/feeder for its successful Global Academic Programme in partnership with local universities. The inaugural event was held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal yesterday. The Teachers4DataAnalytics programme team then embarked on a roadshow with workshops held at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the Vanderbijlpark Campus of the North-West University (NWU) before the end of the year. SAS is also a sponsor of Tangible Africa – a partnership between Nelson Mandela University and Leva Foundation – which kicked off with the exciting annual #Coding4Mandela Day Tournament that took place on Mandela Day in July 2023.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution also demands heightened soft skills in an automated world, making ‘power skills’ such as curiosity, creativity, and communication, all crucial capabilities that are in increasing demand in today’s rapidly evolving workplace. “For businesses to future-proof themselves while adopting 4IR technologies, they must adapt training, recruitment, and remuneration policies to recognise and leverage the importance of new skills that can infuse their organisations with greater resiliency, adaptability, and competitive advantage,” adds Nathalal.