Closing the Skills Gap: Industry-Academia Collaboration in South Africa – 18 March 2024
There are several issues and challenges facing South Africa that could be linked to the country’s history. It is well known that amongst these issues, quality, affordable education remains inaccessible for the vast majority of South Africans. However, this is not true for all South Africans. There is a seemingly obvious divider between those that can access quality education and those who cannot. That divider is money. Dr Shahiem Patel, the Dean of Regent Business School, has an in-depth look at this topic.

In general terms, the rich access quality education and those that are not rich, do not. The resulting effect of this is that those who access quality education are likely to gain usable skills and again, those who are not rich, are unlikely to gain useful skills. In this perpetual cycle, we start to see the emergence of a skills gap between rich and poor. The gaining of skills would typically be a means to enjoy some financial benefit. Ultimately, this kind of skills gap is as a result of economic inequality and gives rise to further inequality.

However, this is not the only kind of skills gap, and that is perhaps the focus of this piece. What is this additional consequence? That would be the gap between the skills required and demanded by employers and those being supplied by the workforce. This form of skills gap is widening with each passing day as technology continues to develop and the nature of problems being solved by businesses constantly evolving.