According to the results of the BRICS Future Skills Challenge, South Africa’s best digital talent can compete with top candidates from Brazil, Russia, India and China. The test is an online multi-day competition and was recently held in China.
Joanne Brink, Project Manager of the Brics Future Skills Challenge | Image provided
SA’s team of competitors includes 240 young professionals and students aged 16 to 35 who specialize in robotic process automation, mobile app development, data science and digital factory skills, among others.
Joanne Brink, Project Manager at the BRICS Future Skills Challenge, says:
“South Africa won 10% of the medals in the categories we competed in. This is impressive for a country with a total population of around 60 million. Team SA won the same number of medals as India, which has a population of 1.4 billion. Out of the 12 test events we competed in, SA won 15 medals, including 10 Medals were the first three levels.We are delighted that South Africa will host the BRICS Skills Challenge in 2023 and have learned valuable lessons from participating.
The SA team has won Bronze and Silver awards in various areas including Internet Marketing, Mobile App Development, Digital Twins, Lifecycle Management, Internet of Things, Aircraft Maintenance, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and Cyber Security.
Online training camps were held for the SA teams before the tournament in October. Each skill area was supported by at least one specialist with in-depth working knowledge of a specific professional field.
As individuals or teams, those selected to participate from BRICS countries have tackled real-world problems and devised solutions using their unique skills.
“Competing on international platforms like this prepares our young people for the future and helps us identify gaps. We can focus our efforts on building the skills needed in a changing world of work,” says Brink.
Professor Theo van Niekerk, a lecturer in mechatronics engineering at Nelson Mandela University, served as an expert in the digital twin challenge.
“Mechatronics is the integration of systems to optimize and speed up production with little or no time. Digital twins also require multi-skilled people who can build software for images as well as mechanical, electrical and physical components. Globally, these skills still require much further development, but “Our young people can move seamlessly across different sectors. This skill, coupled with the experience of the digital twin, is in high demand globally and I see it in our graduates,” he said.
A South African digital marketing team came second in that challenge, despite not knowing most of the apps used in China. Participant Gape Mojanaga says:
“There was a lot of pressure to deliver the brief. My partner and I were unable to complete the first module in the allotted time; And I think if we had the winners we could give them a run for their money.
Mojanaga is a social entrepreneur who plans to share the skills he acquired through digital marketing with unemployed youth in rural areas. “Giving naturally curious young people in education, training or not employed and then opportunities to expand their learning through competitions like the BRICS Future Skills Challenge is a game changer.”
Data Science silver winner Adebowele Tosin said the test provided valuable information to other data scientists. “Competing with BRICS colleagues provided a valuable benchmark and enhanced my business analysis skills. It also helped me interpret findings using the appropriate perspective,” he said.
As South Africa hosts the BRICS Future Skills Challenge in 2023, visionary sponsors are being sought to support SA’s future workforce needs.