The 4th Industrial Revolution is upon us, whether we are ready or not. A lot of professions are going to fall on the sidelines, especially if they don’t jump on the bandwagon, get on with the programme and gear up for the imminent change.
For many professions, systems that used to work during the previous revolutions may be of no use in the future revolution; jobs that people in those systems used to handle may be handled by machines and robots. This raises the question of “What is the future of work?”
Chairman of South Africa’s, Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP) which funds and supports students from poor and working-class backgrounds, Mr Sizwe Nxasana says these are the questions ISFAP is working tirelessly to answer.
“With the 4th industrial revolution upon us, everybody is able to see more now than ever that industries and jobs are being replaced. There is a huge change that is accelerating with AI, robotics, analytics, blockchain technology, et cetera,” says Nxasana. “As ISFAP we note all these changes, especially in our country and, working with universities, TVET Colleges and the employers, we are already on a long-term plan to ensure that young people are better equipped for the future.”
Nxasana says he believes that long term planning is the only answer to the various challenges that face South Africa, and this includes strategic planning for South Africa’s future economy.
“The country is rich with strategic thinkers and planners. That’s how we got the National Development Plan (NDP) that provides a framework of what needs to be done towards the year 2030. We need to support such long-term planning. More so, we need more to be done now for our youth as that will benefit the country in the future. At ISFAP we are doing exactly that, putting more focus to youth empowerment,” adds Nxasana.
ISFAP is a funding model that sustainably caters for the higher education needs and costs of South Africa’s poor and missing middle students. The programme’s aim is to fast track South Africa’s skills production for the 21st century by working with universities to respond to the current and future needs of the economy by offering relevant degrees, and funding the higher education costs of students studying towards careers in occupations of high demand (OHDs), which have been identified by Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC), as critical to South Africa’s economic development.
Working closely with our Founding members - Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) , The Banking Association (BASA), the Association for Savings and Investments South Africa (ASISA), the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and FirstRand Foundation (FRF) and other professional bodies, ISFAP has identified that the needs of the economy require certain critical skills if we are to achieve higher rates of economic growth to reduce poverty, unemployment and inequality.
We need to change the current way of teaching; and provide young people with the skills to navigate a fast-changing world and the personality traits to be curious, resilient and adapt to change. The youth and professionals we produce in the future will be highly equipped with everything they need to remain useful to the country, the economy and their own lives.” says Nxasana