The Call for South Africa

The South Africa Skills Challenge Innovation Call

Boosting Youth Employability through Digital Skills

Web page | 20 July 2022
The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have joined forces in South Africa to enhance digital skills for youth and contribute to the creation of decent work in the digital economy, through the implementation of South Africa’s National Digital and Future Skills Strategy (2021–2025).

This forms part of the Digital Skills for Decent Jobs for Youth initiative that strives to help young South Africans to access the digital economy. The partners recognize the key role of public, private and civil society organizations in fostering an innovative and inclusive approach to skills systems that can bring about progress towards making decent work for all a reality.

The Digital Skills for Decent Jobs for Youth is working with the Digital Skills for Jobs and Income project from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to equip young women and girls with digital skills. The affiliated #eSkills4Girls initiative aims to tackle the existing gender digital divide by increasing women’s and girls’ access to and participation in the digital world.

Against this background, the Skills Challenge Innovation Call is a joint multi-partner effort to boost youth employability through digital skills, by investing in human capital and by strengthening TVET systems.

What is the topic?

Boosting youth employability through digital skills.

We look for innovative ideas and solutions that can contribute to create more employable youth, specifically youth who are not in employment, education or training (NEET), in South Africa through digital skills learning.

Proposals can include both the design and piloting of new learning programmes, and/or the scaling up of existing successful learning initiatives, provided they foresee the following
three elements:

• Digital skills curriculum enhancement/development
• Training of trainers
• Training delivery and rollout to young people

What is the scope?

The objectives of the challenge are:
• Address immediate and emerging digital skills needs in the labour market.
• Enhance the skills development supply through the development and scalability of quality learning programmes.
• Respond to the needs of youth NEET and facilitate their access to learning and decent employment opportunities.
• Support the matching and linking of young people to training and job opportunities.

Who can apply?

The Skills Challenge Innovation Call is looking for training institutions (entities or legally recognized non-profit organizations) who work within the space of digital skills development to upskill youth not in employment, education or training (NEET). The selected participants will receive a cash grant and the opportunity to work on the prototyping or upscaling of their programme.

What will winners get?

Financial Prizes
1st Prize: USD 40,000 #eSkills4girls (women’s and girls’ access to and participation in the digital economy)
2nd Prize: USD 25,000 #digitalSkills4youth (prototyping a new digital skills programme for youth NEET)
3rd Prize: USD 20,000 #digitalskills4youth (scaling up a tested digital skills programme for youth NEET

Access to a 6-month Skills Innovation Lab which provides access to face-to-face and virtual mentoring, training and capacity building, exposure and networking opportunities.

If you have any questions regarding the Skills Challenge Innovation Call and its application process, please contact Ms Moipone Kgatle (National Project Coordinator) at

How to apply?

Before submitting your proposal, we strongly encourage you to:

 Step 1) Read the Participants Guidelines to get an in-depth understanding of the Skills Challenge Innovation Call, its objectives and delivery modalities.
 Step 2) Read the Application Questions which explain how to fill-in the Application Form.
 Step 3) Prepare all required support documents. IMPORTANT: The online Application Form foresees the uploading of support documents which you need to prepare ahead, among them:This is why it is important to go through the Application Questions in order to have all required information ready for uploading.
 Step 4) Click on the online Application Form to formally submit your proposal.

Application deadline: 12 September 2022