As the 15th Skills Development Summit approaches, 2022 is set to highlight the ever-increasing need for investment in skills development in the face of new trends, issues and skills shortages. The summit aims to provide answers and solutions to the many challenges facing South Africa and the world.

South Africa faces an alarming shortage of skilled workers in almost every sector. This highlights the importance in the investment of skills development programs to address these shortfalls and add much needed capacity to our economy. There is a need for development within a framework of inclusivity and development that is transformative.

Automation and globalization are reshaping the world economy. Within the next four years, more than 5 million jobs are expected to be lost to robots. But which skills do we need in order to face the unexpected? And how do we equip today’s school-age children for professions that don’t exist yet? Emerging economies face more daunting challenges. High drop-out rates, meager funds, a lack of access and inclusion, and acute teacher shortages continue to plague progress.

The skills needed to hold a job in the 21st century are a crucial asset for any individual growing up in these countries. The economies of South Asia and Africa will supply nearly 60% of the world’s new workers by 2030, according to  McKinsey Global Institute,. But if current education trends continue, the global labour force will contain at least a billion workers who lack the necessary education and skills. Partnerships between public and private sectors need to draw up new curriculums that match young people with the real needs of businesses.

Gender gaps persist globally in women’s access to skills development and participation in the labour market. The main challenges women face include gender biases in occupational choices; barriers to education and training, especially in rural and informal economies; sociocultural and economic constraints; and low representation of women in STEM subjects.
The issues raised in this summit impact all stakeholders from employees to governments across the globe. It is an event of international importance, which is why the Skills Development Summit is an event not to be missed for every serious player in the skills development space.