When tomorrow comes - will you be ready?
Now isn’t the time to simply watch things unfold. Accelerated change requires consumers to be more proactive about investing in tech-literacy and artificial intelligence (AI) prowess, as many jobs are going to involve embracing automation on some level. This is according to Lyn Mansour, Founder and CEO of KLM Empowered, a leading Integrated Skills Development Solutions Provider and Project Management Conglomerate.
“There is a dire need for South African businesses and citizens to ramp up on AI acumen. With AI tracking as one of the fastest growing disciplines in technology, it has grown more and more important for employers and employees to understand and embrace its applications,” says Mansour.
“We believe that AI will be a great transformer, improving the efficiency of many sectors and enabling the creation of higher-value services that can lead to overall economic growth,” says Mansour. “We are living in the age of AI, robotics, and smart machines. More human tasks are being automated, fundamentally shifting the way we work and changing the skills being sought by organisations. What’s more, the skills and jobs we’ll require tomorrow are largely unknown to us today, raising a considerable talent challenge at a time when we’re already dealing with so much,” says Mansour.
So just how will we navigate the AI landscape? KLM Empowered encourages businesses to define and take the following steps to help people and organisations to thrive in the face of continuous disruptive change:
Step 1: Embrace the Future of Work
AI is not intended to fully replace humans in the workforce; rather it will be a universally accessible tool to augment human abilities. Therefore, as AI becomes more integrated into the workplace, the onus is on business leaders to embrace the necessary skills development efforts to helping their people and organisations prepare for AI and embrace the opportunities it will create.
Step 2: Identify the Jobs of the Future
While technology develops to allow methodical tasks to become automated, new jobs will be created, bringing about a large-scale reclassification and rebalancing of work.
This means, companies of South Africa cannot afford to wake up after the fact – the key to increased productivity is to prepare for these ‘new’ job titles that are about to break through. According to the World Economic Forum, the following 20 jobs will see an increasing demand over the next five years:
- Data Analysts and Scientists
- AI and Machine Learning Specialists
- Big Data Specialists
- Digital Marketing and Strategy Specialists
- Process Automation Specialists
- Business Development Professionals
- Digital Transformation Specialists
- Information Security Specialists
- Software and Application Developers
- Internet of Things Specialists
- Project Managers
- Business Services and Administration Managers
- Database and Network Professionals
- Robotics Engineers
- Strategic Advisors
- Management and Organisation Analysts
- FinTech Engineers
- Mechanics and Machinery Repairers
- Organisational Development Specialists
- Risk Management Specialists
Step 3: Develop Future-Fit Skills
South Africa has been battling an increasing skills shortage for the last decade. With more and more skilled workers leaving the country, there is an opportunity for young people to take ownership of closing the gap, as well as for people established in their careers to up-skill and pivot towards where they are most needed.
Step 4: Turn up the HEAT
As AI continues to open up new business and employment opportunities, human characteristics like EQ and agility - that are difficult for computers to mimic - will only increase in importance. “We are therefore now looking to “H.E.A.T” as a well-rounded multi-disciplinary approach: Humanities, Engineering, Arts and Technology as the future of business,” says Mansour.
“The future of business needs a population of creative, emotionally intelligent digital natives who are all leaders in their own right, and H.E.A.T strikes the perfect balance of discipline. In addition, those workers performing tasks which automation cannot yet crack will become more essential – and this means creativity, innovation, imagination, and design skills will be prioritised by employers.”
“We certainly cannot underestimate the value of our uniquely human talent. The workplace has seen an increased demand for emotional intelligence, leadership ability, and creativity which will only continue to grow.
“Skills such as critical thinking, decision-making, stress management, people management, virtual collaboration, change management, negotiation, complex problem-solving, adaptability, and analysis are the bedrock to building the strong and agile teams required to navigate rapid change,” says Mansour.
Step 5: Adapt Learning Approaches
The future of education is all about learner-centred experiential learning. Theory must be integrated with real-life practice and on-the-job learning. Learning must be designed to be engaging and shape graduates who are able to lead themselves and collaborate effectively with others.
“This is the blended learning approach that KLM Empowered stands by because it is the only way to truly acquire a skill,” says Mansour. Blended learning is a combination of online learning, theoretical learning from facilitators and industry experts, real-life work experience and engaged discussion.
According to KLM Empowered, our education and skills need to adapt, and quickly. Focusing on skills that nurture creativity, innovation, and leadership as well as the development of technology and software superpowers are now the cornerstone to all businesses.
“The new normal that we are all facing demands a new level of leadership, innovation, and agility. We have a choice to make—ride out the storm or catch the wave. Those organisations and individuals who understand their potential futures, and what each might mean for them, and plan ahead, will be the best prepared to succeed,” says Mansour.
More about the new KLM Empowered and the Knowledge X-Change Microsoft AI University
KLM Empowered recently announced its collaboration with Microsoft, in the launch of its first AI University through its Knowledge X-Change Centre of Digital Excellence. This is a 12-month programme offering comprehensive study in AI. This programme is the first of its kind in South Africa and offers a unique opportunity for IT graduates to develop future-fit skills and for organisations to groom their next generation of AI engineers.
In partnership with KLM Empowered, the Knowledge X-Change Centre of Digital Excellence has developed a series of accredited MasterClasses to build digital citizenship and digital transformation capability, and as a Microsoft Education Partner, now also provides training and certification for AI Engineers, Data Analysts, Data Engineers, Data Scientists, Information Security Specialists, Software and App Developers, Database and Network Professionals, IoT Specialists, and Robotics Engineers.
Considering the jobs that are rapidly gaining prominence in terms of demand, KLM Empowered has aligned its catalogue of qualifications and skills programmes to develop the skills required to perform those jobs, with a focus on Software and Application Development, Project Management, Business Administration, Business Analysis, and Risk Management.
About KLM Empowered:
KLM Empowered Human Solutions Specialist, a B-BBEE solutions integrated and partner and a multi-SETA, and QCTO registered provider services a diverse range of industries such as: leadership, business and specialisations in transport and logistics; warehousing, marketing; IT and communications; insurance, culinary, hospitality and tourism industries and is accredited across SETAs to name but a few. Since its inception in 2005, KLM Empowered has dedicated its ethos to transforming the nation through purpose-driven education. With its Level 1 B-BBEE scorecard and a highly experienced project management team, facilitators and operational professionals, a steady climb to success within the industry is the ever-onward goal for KLM Empowered and their team. Details at www.klmempowered.com