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4IR will see 'some jobs go', says labour minister

Aug 28 2019 13:48
Lameez Omarjee

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will be disruptive to everyone, and upskilling and retraining will be necessary to ensure the workforce can adapt, says Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi.

The minister made the comment at a briefing on the launch of the employment equity status report for 2018/19. He report highlighted that coloured and African population groups remain underrepresented in the workforce, some 20 years after the Employment Equity Act was passed.

Responding to a question from a journalist about what government is doing to prepare the workforce for the fourth industrial revolution, Nxesi said it is clear the revolution will "affect all of us".

The fourth industrial revolution marks a period of disruptive technological changes such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, the internet of things and robotics, among others. 

"Some jobs will go, because there will be new jobs that need skills. The issue of retraining and upskilling will be key," Nxesi said.

SA's current workforce does not necessarily have the skills required for artificial intelligence and robotics, he added.

"The reality is, we cannot stop that technological change. We just have to be ready for it. It has the potential to be disruptive. It will disrupt our lives. That is why upskilling [and] retraining is going to be very important. It is at the top of our agenda," Nxesi said.

He added that the various existing training programmes should no longer operate in silos, instead they should come together to develop training programmes for workers.

thulas nxesi  |  equity  |  employment equity  |  labour
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