SA Taps Into Wider BRICS Skills Pool

South Africa has set up avenues to share experiences with its BRICS counterparts some of whom boast largest private sector conglomerates in the emerging market economies. The country seeks to leverage on the expertise and technical know-how of its counterparts in BRICS to advance the national development agenda of improving skills development in order to increase opportunity for businesses and individuals.

Currently 5% of the South Africa’s population is carrying the remaining 45% economically, according to Linda Germishuizen, Executive, Career and Life Coach.

Whilst the five countries are tied together in their resolve to improve social and economic inclusion, they realise that sharing experiences among themselves is an important success factor to meet the collective objectives of BRICS.

In the case of South Africa, the country faces one of the highest youth unemployment rates among BRICS countries, around 25 percent. According to the latest BRICS Business Council Report, 73% of the unemployed are under the age of 35. Access to quality education and skills development in South Africa remains limited.

“Pooling of expertise and collaboration in such areas could contribute to an improvement in skills and technologies, leading to higher growth of the BRICS economies. BRICS economies have some of the best engineering, architectural, medical, scientific, and management institutes that cater to the specific requirements of emerging market economies. Their expertise lies in the fact that the faculty and students develop niche understanding of emerging economy requirements and business conditions,” said South African President Jacob Zuma, when addressing a contingent of journalists across the continent on some of the benefits of the country’s membership to BRICS.

He explained that cooperation among BRICS institutions through knowledge and skills transfer could help improve the quality of technical education, the cornerstone for industrial and technological development.

In its report the Skills Development Working Group explained that an exchange programme of BRICS countries setting up campuses in other member states will bring benefit and economies of scale. “Promoting shared curriculums; faculty and student exchanges will create opportunities for enhancing human capital. Sustained economic growth requires the implementation of solid, long-term training, and skills development strategies. Skills requirements are evolving at a fast pace, because of increasing technology innovation and sophistication of labour markets. Training institutions need to be adequately equipped to respond to changing demands and to offer on a regular basis, access to the right skills,” the report states.

According to the International Labour Organisation, the cornerstones of a policy framework for developing a suitably skilled workforce include broad availability of good-quality education as a foundation for future training. It also involves a close matching of skills supply to the needs of enterprises and labour markets, and enabling workers and enterprises to adjust to changes in technology and markets. Another crucial factor is that of anticipating and preparing for the skills needs of the future. Evidence suggests that a combination of good education and high quality training relevant to the labour market has good results for countries as it;

· Empowers people to develop their full capacities and to seize employment and social opportunities;

· Raises productivity, both of workers and of enterprises;

· Contributes to boosting future innovation and development;

· Encourages both domestic and foreign investment, and thus job growth, lowering unemployment and underemployment;

· Leads to higher wages;

· Expands labour market opportunities and reduces social inequalities.