Digital Skills for Decent Jobs for Youth

Boosting youth employability through digital skills

Press release | Durban, South Africa | 05 December 2022
 Announcement: winners of the South Africa Skills Challenge Innovation call

The DCDT, ILO, ITU, UNDP Joint Programme on Digital Skills for Decent Jobs for Youth is excited to announce the winners of the South Africa Skills Challenge Innovation call, implemented in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) through the #eSkills4Girls initiative and the Digital Skills and Jobs Income DS4JI project. Under the topic “Boosting youth employability through digital skills”, the call was launched in July and encouraged training institutions in South Africa to send in proposals to help capacitate youth not-in-employment-education-and-training (NEET) through designing, proposing, and/or improving a curriculum. The solutions had to include both a Training of Trainers and a rollout plan to reach out vulnerable youth across the country with pre-entry level digital skills training offers that can increase their access to employment or further skills development opportunities.

In South Africa, youth NEET account for over 30% of the youth unemployment figure. This has risen over the past two years due the COVID pandemic creating even more challenging conditions for youth. Both within gaining employable skills and finding employment.

The call yielded 14 eligible proposals that were reduced to 9 finalists through a series of technical assessments. The finalists were invited to pitch before an external panel, consisting of skill experts, digital specialists and youth development institutions. The prizes include financial and technical support for the organisation including a six-month programme by the ILO’s International Training Centre and ILO’s Skills Innovation Facility to prototype and pilot their solution.

The announcement took place in Durban, on the 22nd of November, at the DCDT & GIZ Digital and Future Skills National Conference, where all the applicants were invited to participate in.
The prizes were divided into 3 categories:

1st Prize:

USD 40,000 for #eSkills4girls (women’s and girls’ access to and participation in the digital economy)

2nd Prize:

USD 25,000 for #digitalSkills4youth (prototyping a new digital skills programme for youth NEET)

3rd Prize:

USD 20,000 for #digitalskills4youth (scaling up a tested digital skills programme for youth NEET)
Due to the lack of eligible scaling-up programmes, the partnership decided to award 2 prototyping programmes to the same cash value.

1st prize category
Winner: Ikasi Creative NPC with their solution of “Digital Media Skills Training” aimed at women and girls in the rural areas of the Western Cape.
Runner-up: Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) will receive a voucher for technical support for their solution “Building Digital Skills Capacity for Employability of Young Females in South Africa” aimed for women and children across South Africa

2nd prize category
Winner: Limpopo based Vexospark with “Digital Touch in Rural Communities” initiative that will implement their solutions in the rural areas of Limpopo, Eastern Cape, North West, and Northern Cape
Winner: The Lindamahle Innovation Centre will work with communities in the OR Tambo District on “Training of unemployed youth (NEET) on ICT & Cisco Networking Skills”
Runner-up: Digify Africa, which is based in Johannesburg, will receive a voucher of technical support the nationwide “Digify Pro Online” solution.

Due to the high standard of the proposals, the partnership chose to acknowledge solutions that stood out in the form of a Jury Prize. This was awarded to Cape Town based Genesis Community IT on their “Mobile Tech Champions” initiative aimed at youth in Elsies River. They will receive financial and technical support from the partners.

About the Joint Programme
The Joint Programme partnership consists of 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) who 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 Digital Skills for Decent Jobs for Youth is working with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in #eSkills4Girls which aims to tackle the existing gender digital divide by increasing women’s and girls’ access to and participation in the digital world.

For more information or interviews please contact:
The Skills Team or
Tshepo Mohatle