Making 4IR relevant: a Kagiso Trust Youth Career Expo: Scratch, drones and animation

“How do we solve the unemployment problem today and transform our current situation? How do we harness skills ourselves so we can respond positively to the problems we see in our society? We first must realise the potential that children and young people have.” These are the powerful words of Langa Zulu who spoke at the recent Youth Career Expo in Limpopo hosted by Kagiso Trust in partnership with Africa Beyond 4IR (AB4IR).

“The culture at school is that the teacher knows everything and the learners only speak when asked to. We need to have a different worldview if we are serious about ensuring we develop critical skills in young people today. An audience that only listens passively and doesn’t have room to collaborate and add new thoughts will never get to realise a new world of skilled people.”

Students were exposed to coding by Tumelo Malebane, a lecturer at Tshwane University of Technology who demonstrated sequencing using the free programming language Scratch, anchoring it in everyday problem solving, “For example, if someone did not know how to brush their teeth, you should be able to give them clear instructions on a piece of paper of what to do and they must understand each step from what you told them. And that’s what happens with coding. It is about you giving the computer clear step-by-step instructions of what to do.

“The Fourth industrial revolution simply allows you to solve problems with technology,” he said, before he reminded students that, “Google was created as a university project and look at how big it is today. We hope we are sitting here today which young people who can change the world.”

Students from Batubatse Primary School introduced a universal project model which is a multifunctional cargo car made with technology. The cargo car made was then demonstrated/instructed to move (left/right/straight for a set distance) through code.

Lwazi Msipha, who had made it onto the Forbes 30 under 30 list and has created a show on Cartoon Network called My Cartoon Friend, spoke of how he got into animation, and the power of social media in pushing your content. “There is so much information online that you can use to learn more about your passion and there are many ways to make money in this industry. Keep going, keep being consistent, and keep putting your content forward; you never know which door might open next.”

With the opportunity for all attendees to experience VR headsets and fly drones on an obstacle course, Thabang Diseko urged the students to start experimenting, ““No matter how young you are, you can use your phone to create something new. The world has changed. Our parents used to go to work to clock in. You can simply wake up and open your phone to clock in.”

As Mankodi Moitse, the CEO of Kagiso Trust said,  “We don’t look to how we can help young people, but how to work with them. We believe the young people of South Africa have the capability to work their future out. They are not passengers in the future or the career.” She urged them to think about different careers that are not the norm. “it doesn’t matter if it is difficult; we are all here together to say let’s hold hands together. You are not the leaders of tomorrow but of today.”

Link to the live recording: https://www.facebook.com/kagisotrust/videos/395296322573157/

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