“It is becoming clear that digital savvy artisans are also in short supply. SA needs a pool of digitally savvy artisans such as mechanical fitters who understand the fundamentals of coding as the factory floor becomes increasingly automated and digitised.”
And in terms of specific skills in demand among SMMEs and start-ups in the chemical industry, a recent study by Chieta revealed a skills gap in management coaching, management and entrepreneurial skills, and mentorship.
These above skills incorporate agility, governance, innovation, leadership, performance management, R&D leadership, numerical, packaging, problem solving, programming, project management, communication, negotiating, and marketing.
Chieta’s skills development initiatives are increasingly being designed to address specific skills mismatches, and a focus area for it is digital skills development.
Pillay said: “The more our wider skills development shifts from traditional to digital skills training, the more likely it will be to see an increased absorption of trainees and artisans by industry.”
One of the initiatives within the digital skills development category is Chieta’s Smart Skills Centre programme, which is bridging the digital skills divide by taking training directly to rural communities.
The first Smart Skills Centre will open in Saldanha Bay, Western Cape, this year and is aimed at providing access to basic digital skills in 4IR-related occupations to local communities. Chieta is investing a further R50m in Smart Skills Centres across the country by 2025.
"Chieta’s efforts to deliver relevant and quality training in line with the needs of the chemical industry sectors is continuing through a range of offerings and funding windows, which include work integrated learning (WIL), bursaries and learnerships.
“We remain committed to maintaining a stakeholder-centric approach to our evolving skills development initiatives, and to strengthening our capacity to adapt to the rapid pace of change in skills needs within our industry.
"At the same time, we strongly encourage wider engagement between all stakeholders, government, other SETAs, and training institutions across the board to ensure that closing scarce skills gaps is contributing to job creation in SA,” said Pillay.