Spanning The Digital Skills Hole

The digital skills sector is ripe for private sector investment and participation.

The expression “digital world” is normally used when characterizing digital familiarity and digital education. The digital world is the accessibility and use of digital instruments to convey on the Internet, digital devices, smart devices, and other technologies.

There is a need to review the status of preparations for the millennium bug, to consider individual responsibilities at various levels, and to create crisis units to handle emergencies should they appear.

Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” This bitter truth is for people who find it difficult to adapt to change.

How can one get this subtle digital literacy? Digital literacy is not about only being able to navigate around social media, but the seemingly effortless way to engage with all things technological. It is easy to see why young Ghanaians live in an interactive, “on-demand” digital “culture” where they are used to accessing media whenever and wherever they want. Instant messaging, photo sharing, texting, social networking, video streaming, and mobile Internet use are all examples where youth have led the charge in new ways of engaging online. The digital literacy needs of a person require critical thinking, collaboration-the ability to work collaboratively with others, with strong interpersonal and team-related skills, creativity, citizenship, communication, deliberateness, reflection, and willingness to take risks.

However, although young people do not need persuading to engage in Internet technologies, without guidance they remain blind users of information and communications technology (ICT), which poses concerns about a generation of youth who are not fully digitally literate yet are intensely occupied in the digital world. Thus, it is inadequate to think that young people certainly have all the skills, knowledge, and understanding that they need to apply to their use of technology. People need help in making sense of a fast-changing digital world that gives them access to vast amounts of information and its related activities.

The future needs new experiences in the digital world, and it takes only those who embrace such opportunities. However, if the early bird catches the worm, then as a country, we cannot afford to take chances in the digital era in which we are. The developed nations are doing well because they have a balanced concentration on digital skills and various sectors of their economies.

The current world population is 7.9 billion as of May 2021 according to the most recent United Nations estimates elaborated by Worldometer. Out of this population, the top ten (10) countries leading technology from the bottom include Switzerland, Israel, Singapore, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, United States, China, South Korea, and Japan. As Rome was not built in a day, so are these nations, as they started from somewhere.

The trending technologies of today including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine learning, Robotics Process Automation, Edge Computing, Quantum Computing, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, Cyber Security are all traveling to the future but it all points to the necessity to acquire digital skills, from basic through intermediate and to advance levels. Neil Bentley-Gockmann, CEO of WorldSkills UK said “The majority of our employer poll believe that their reliance on digital skills will increase in the future, yet analysis of digital skills provision in education shows that the numbers training in digital skills is on a downward trend,”.

The Digital skills gap and the absence of fitting skills in the technology sector are not recent issues. However, employers and organizations should be encouraged and supported to close future skills gaps by offering digital skills training and opportunities to young people, in line with industry expectations and requirements to meet emerging technology needs.

Hence, acquiring digital skills is significant because they support such an enormous amount of how current or modern work is led. For some advanced callings, digital skills are just fundamental skills. Just as many believe in ICT education, the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) has taken it upon itself to create a platform for Ghana and Africa to establish a vibrant ICT ecosystem. The aim as an institute is to mobilize professionals, students, and businesses, using their expertise to train young ones and certify professionals. A decade from now, two-third of skills that are essential in today’s workforce will have another phase. For instance, COVID-19 has changed the nature of businesses we were used to before its emergence. Traditional marketing is gradually losing its place.

The digital skills gap is widening fast. How to bridge it or fill the vacuum is to harness technology to empower long-lasting learning by empowering kids as early as age 6. This is an action IIPGH has perfected over the years and continues to close the gap by focusing on young ones and females. Not only that, but young tutors are also drawn from tertiary institutions, primary and secondary schools, and are trained in new technology teaching methods over a period.

Zeroing in on coding, for example, blows up the significance of tracking down the “right” strategy to take care of tasks (problem-solving skills). Considering everything — one will become more informed and appreciate not only the lines of codes in a program but also take inspiration from the related issues while arriving at structured solutions to designs and problems.

In Conclusion, we are not trying to create a new generation of 100 percent geeks but more essentially understanding the fundamentals of coding, for example. Critical thinking and general technology literacy are essential to becoming involved in our present communities and the future workforce. “Digital skills are critical to earning income in the future economy as the formal and informal economies are digitizing. According to Digital Skills Observatory, digital skills (e-skills) are among the most sought after by businesses – Digital skills for the modern century workplace – (iipgh.org)”. Coders are in high demand and coding as a digital skill provides a competitive advantage when applying for jobs. With coding knowledge, students better understand the world, making the future smile. But like anything, it is a process and VICTORY REQUIRES PREPARATION. On the off chance that your child (ren) learns to code, there is an onward assessment and exposure to propose that will equip them with unique skills.

 

Author: Jeffrey Vava

Tutor, Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana | IT/Digital Officer, The Capital Group Limited.

For comments, contact (+233)-50 851 3316/54 348 8197 or email j.vava@capitalgroupghana.com