For the past few years, the term Fourth Industrial Revolution, often abbreviated as 4IR, has received splendid attention from the research and business community. While the earlier is focused on understanding and generating knowledge about the 4IR trends, industries focused their attention on opportunities and threats that this change brings to their operating landscape. Recently, in pursuit of achieving a successful digital transformation, the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing (FP&M) Sectoral Education and Training Authority (SETA), partnered with Enterprises University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd (Enterprises UP) to identify technological capabilities and human skills that are appropriate for the shifting operational environment they find themselves in. This will ultimately assist in developing a well-defined road map for the SETA’s future education and training programmes relevant to their 13 subsectors.
“Based on the body of evidence, a wide range of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, 3D and 4D printing, virtual and augmented reality, drones, robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) and big data are already impacting or will in the near future impact every sub-sector of the SETA” explained Enterprises UP Stakeholder Relations Executive Manager, Irvin Bogopa, following the completion of the study.
Beyond these findings, the study further uncovered that the development of the new technologies is driven by larger socio-economic trends such as sustainability, environmental, ethical, labour, smart-wear, and consumer behavioural issues. These macro trends are not only the key drivers of emerging technologies but also impact one another individually and collectively.
Further commenting on the research outcome, Bogopa elaborated that “…organisations need to determine and prepare for the disruptions caused by the 4IR, how new emerging technologies will demand future skills, what these skills could be, and how to develop solutions in dealing with these” otherwise, they will miss the opportunity to harness emerging 4IR technologies.
The landscape of opportunity is constrained by substantial barriers in organisations. Multiple challenges such as lack of basic infrastructure, expertise, and relevant information could be a barrier in implementing change. Hence corporates require partners such as Enterprises UP to navigate the complex technologies to transition to digital-ready entities. In the case of the FP&M SETA research task, Enterprises UP appointed a multi-faceted team of experts to execute the study. They divided the study into two phases.
The first phase focused on identifying trends and emerging technologies that could potentially impact each of the SETA’s 13 sub-sectors. During this phase, Enterprises UP’s team utilised a Cloudbased search technology platform to conduct a worldwide search to identify emerging technologies that impact the 13 sub-sectors.
The Cloud-based search technology is a powerful tool for organising vast amounts of data quickly and easily, enhancing the efficiency of the research process. Furthermore, the advantage of using this approach is that it provided examples of what trends and emerging technologies already exist and as such leaves little room for speculation as it is entirely evidence-based.
The team used more than 300 pieces of evidence to provide a focussed view per sub-sector, on how each identified emerging technology was already impacting the sub-sectorThe second part of the study focused on translating the potential impact of these emerging technologies into future skill requirements. During this phase of the project, skills and competency experts were tasked to develop various narratives for the FP&M SETA with a focus on what new future skills will be required.
These outcomes were further validated by various expert panels to enhance the credibility of the process. This outcome, namely the consensus view of a body of practitioners as to what the future skills will entail, per sub-sector, was presented to the SETA’s Board and EXCO.
Enterprises UP has a proven track record of assisting corporates and public organisations achieve their business goals, whether it be training solutions or research and advisory services.
Founded in 2000, Enterprises UP brings to bear the internal capabilities and knowledge base of the University of Pretoria (UP) to find innovative business solutions for its clients. They translate the quality, relevance, and impact of the academic and research-intensive output of UP into an all-inclusive solution, hence becoming a training and research partner of choice.
Over the years Enterprises UP partnered with various private and public organisations. They developed and presented the Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Care, Treatment, and Management programme for the Department of Health. They were also selected to support a World Health Organisation (WHO) project to develop the National Strategic Plan/Framework (NSP) for HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Enterprises University of Pretoria offers solutions-driven research and training services. If you wish for us to provide you with more information, please contact us at +27(0)12 434 2500 or visit www.enterprises.up.ac.za.