Digital skills for young people create employment prospects

Project description

Title: Digital Skills for Jobs and Income in South Africa
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: South Africa
Overall term: 2020 to 2023


South Africa has one of the highest NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) rates for young people worldwide. Many young people have already lost hope of ever finding a workplace. This affects girls and young women in particular, whose access to the labour market is especially difficult as a result of various factors such as rigid working hours, the lack of role models, and the double burden of managing the household and providing childcare. At the same time, companies lack well-trained experts to ensure their competitiveness and capacity for growth, particularly with regard to digital transformation and the future of work.

One reason for this imbalance is the shortage of needs-oriented initial and further training relevant to the labour market, which until now has had only a limited focus on digital skills. The low quality of the vocational education and training (VET) and general education system, poorly trained training staff and structural problems in the labour market also contribute to the situation. The digital transformation and associated acceleration of economic and innovation processes exacerbate these factors, thus increasing the pressure on the South African education and training systems to provide experts with the relevant digital skills.


The employment prospects of young people, especially of women, have improved in an increasingly digitalised economy.


The project promotes digital skills relevant to the labour market to enhance the employability of South Africa’s young people. It supports the following:

  • Access to better quality and needs-oriented vocational training at four selected vocational schools. Modules on the acquisition of employment-related digital skills for trainees and teaching staff are integrated into the training courses. The project provides training on the skills of experts and managers for digital transformation and the future of work.
  • Access to demand-led skills development. The project supports at least 2,000 young people in selected innovative, informal training measures, which are offered through the private sector and civil society initiatives.
  • The improvement of recruitment processes by 150 medium-sized enterprises. Human resources experts are implementing new, gender-sensitive approaches to be able to identify applicants with sought-after digital skills.
  • The networking and cooperation of initiatives and participants as well as the exchange of lessons learned in the digital transformation process of the South African economy.

The project is partially funded by the G20 initiative #eSkills4Girls, which aims to overcome the existing digital divide between genders. This is why girls and young women comprise the main part of the project’s beneficiaries, to facilitate their access to the South African labour market through acquiring digital skills.

Last update: November 2020


Further information