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Demand for enterprise and leadership skills is expected to rise, says Juliette Fourie, founder and managing director of Metro Minds.“Enterprise skills are transferable skills, allowing people to navigate complex job functions in different industries. It includes digital literacy, communication, creativity, teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking, and financial literacy.”It is estimated that jobs of the future will demand 70% more of these types of skills than jobs of the past. Skills development, on the other hand, will be provided through experiences, immersion, and augmented learning instead of traditional education practices, Fourie warns. “The percentage of jobs that demand critical thinking has increased by 158%, creativity by 65%, presentation skills by 25%, and teamwork by 19%. Enterprise skills are becoming just as important for job entry as technical skills, and human dependency is too strong. The top skills needed for the future sit in digital literacy, emotional intelligence, creativity, and adaptability.”

With this in mind, Fourie says it is imperative that the industry refocus its efforts on training. “Due to the regulation that has been put in place, skills development has become a compliance exercise rather than a need or demand exercise.”The situation was exacerbated as companies also became more reliant on funding from the Seta to pay for skills development in their businesses. With funding under pressure, it has resulted in skills development taking yet another back seat.“Skills development is the primary ingredient to assist with unemployment and future economic growth,” says Fourie. “The scarce skills discourse has been blamed for ongoing poverty, unemployment, and inequality, which are not being addressed, despite many efforts.”

Moving forward it will be essential to introduce coordinated, responsive and coherent skills planning systems within companies. This is recognised by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), which has called for more alignment between skills supply and demand. A report by the DHET suggests that a 32% share of the workforce in South Africa has a mismatch between their qualification and job.“Creating a credible skills planning mechanism is important to understand the skills demand and supply, and alignment of capacity needed to drive business strategies,” says Fourie. “Looking at the economic state, the labour force profile, the current demand, and the future demand would assist in understanding the skills demand and supply and skills misalignment much better.”

According to Fourie, there has been a slight increase in the demand for skills development services. “The pandemic has, however, changed the way we think about training as well as the way we present learning. Micro-learning and virtual classes have become more popular,” she says. “We are also again going back to basics – communication, customer service. This comes as the way we do business post-Covid has changed. Technical industry skills will always be in demand but life skills are organic and will need attention. “Her advice to the industry is to invest in the long term. “Start with an assessment and realities of the current state of skills per department in your business. Link this to the larger intention and picture.”

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