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Capacity and Skills Development

The CoLab functions on a continuum from digital inclusion (mainly focused at disadvantaged/vulnerable groupings) to initiatives aimed at enhancing our digital competitiveness. It does not have the capability or capacity to do everything on its own and therefore utilise its thought leadership role within the broader stakeholder network to gain support and contributions to address identified needs. Most of our activities are being done through partnerships with cross-sectoral partnerships.


A) Digital Literacy and digital skills for communities

The CoLab designed and implemented a model to scale digital literacy and specific digital skills development interventions to assist these communities or disadvantaged/vulnerable groups across the Western Cape Province to become part of the digital economy. To this end, the CoLab implements its own digital skills interventions through partnerships with NGOs and CBOs. Our role is to provide them with the training content, upskill them through train-the-trainer and then support the NGS’s/CBOs in their engagements with communities


In this space the CoLab has also formed partnerships with the Western Cape Government (DEDAT and the Department of the Premier) and contributes towards their community digital inclusion processes through research and upskilling of their trainers.


B) Sector User Training (formal and informal sector)

B.1) Digital Skills for SMEs

  • Developed a short course (NQF5) MobileTech for Small and Medium Size business support aimed at supporting micro and small entrepreneurs to use mobile technology for business support.

  • The research into SMEs was sponsored by TELKOM and done in partnership with an ICT business partner. The course and intervention design was done with NEMISA funding.


B.2) Cyber security for citizens (especially youth)

  • South Africa has a serious challenge in terms of cyber security and the CoLab is focusing on raising citizens’ general the level of awareness in this respect. To this end it has developed a workshop process that can be used by our NGO/CBO partners to engage youth (and citizens) on this topic


 B.3) Coding for youth

  • Developed 2 accredited coding short course (introduction and advanced) in collaboration with Department of Information Systems, to upskill high school learners and youth (with special focus on vulnerable communities). The objective of the introductory course is to (1) raise awareness of ICT as career; attract learners to this space (introductory course). The advanced course is presented in collaboration with business and is aimed at creating pathways for unemployed youth into the digital economy.  

  • The CoLab is currently in discussion with various industry partners to build a pipeline from supporting young people from participating in the training intervention to gaining work experience in the formal business sector. The Future-Innovation Lab is one of these initiatives.



C) ICT-Practitioners Training

The CoLab utilised it national funding to initiate and support the development of 3 post-graduate diplomas to address particular gaps in the market. The following programmes were supported in collaboration with the stakeholder network

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Business Analysis – now successfully implemented by Department of Information Systems (UCT).

  • Post Graduate Diploma (PGDip) in Software Development – implemented by Department of Information Systems (UWC) ;

  •  Post Graduate Diploma in Data Analytics and Business Intelligence (interdisciplinary programme; UWC)


In all above initiatives the CoLab drew on its cross-sectoral relationships (business sector in this respect) to assist in the co-design of course material, obtain sponsorship with bursaries/internships for students. Co-funding of course development and lose relationships with business.


  • Our partnership with UGent and VUB, by means of our International Joint Research Group (4 year funding from VUB), the CoLab hosts master classes on specialist topics such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Privacy. These classes are open for students and our broad stakeholder network. Classes are being presented by international counterparts.


D) Leadership

Short courses, workshops aimed at managers across sectors to raise awareness/ skills levels in terms of digital inclusion, digital transformation and the digital economy.

  • Developed and presented a workshop process on Artificial Intelligence as a collaborative initiative between the CoLab (Wouter Grove), Dr. Johan Breytenbach (Dept. of Information Systems) and VUB/UGent partners. Workshop presented to senior managers of WC Provincial Government Departments, DEDAT networking session and Procurement Function of Universities. Respond to requests as this is part of the “awareness raising” mandate of the CoLab.

  • Design and development of short course and workshop process on Digital Transformation in collaboration with a business partner. This programme has been presented in various South AFrican provinces to various government departments.  The objective is to accredit this programme as a short course. with partners and Intermediaries to equip them to implement digital skills development initiatives within their organisations

  • Upskilling of 3rd sector Intermediaries to present all the digital skills programmes (provided by the CoLab) within their communities in collaboration with CIECT.

  • Leadership participants normally recruited from the extended stakeholder group across business, government, academic and 3rd sector role players and Intermediaries

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