South African university College Campus, based in Pretoria, has launched three new technological degrees seeking to fill the widening skills gap in the country when it comes to ICT.
The new bachelor degrees – Bachelor of Commerce in Digital Marketing (B.Com DM), Bachelor of Information Technology in Business Systems (B.IT) and Bachelor of Business Administration (B.BA) – were prompted by talks between the college and business leaders about the shortage of required skills in South Africa’s ICT sector.
“The rate of change in the workplace due to technology is so rapid that, in order to keep industry supplied with suitably skilled management, we have sought to offer the kinds of new-age learning appropriate to the needs of commerce,” said Genevieve Allen, MD of College Campus.
The B.Com DM degree is the first of its kind in the country, and will look to produce graduates for positions in advertising and marketing. The B.IT degree will equip graduates to direct technology and IT towards achieving organisational goals. The B.BA degree, meanwhile, will provide students with the skills and knowledge to fill the critical shortage of competent managers and administrators in local and international businesses.
“There are many employment and entrepreneurial opportunities available in this industry because of the skills gaps,” said Allen. “A study done by global IT Industry Association, Comp TIA, revealed that 93 percent of companies say they have an IT skills gap, which is likely hindering technology optimisation and business success in organisations.”
South Africa’s ICT skills gap is an ongoing issue within the sector. Gois Fouché, strategy and transformation manager at HP SA, told ITWeb that there is a disconnect between the skills possessed by ICT practitioners in South Africa and the skills required by the market, with many unable or unwilling to retrain.
Two thirds of company respondents to the 2011 ITWeb-JCSE Skills Survey said that they were impacted by the lack of ICT skills. Recruiters said there was a lack of skills in areas such as application development, mobility, high-end infrastructure and analytics, with the skills not keeping up with the general pace of change in the industry.
“Not only do we have to catch up with the traditional skills, but we have to transition, upskill, reskill or learn new skills fast in order to design and deliver on the new solutions,” Fouché said.