By the Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority (CHIETA)

As 4IR rapidly becomes integral to an increasing number of industries throughout South Africa, the need to fast-track skills development in wide-ranging 4IR focus areas is growing.

Intelligence systems are becoming integrated into every aspect of our lives. Supplied | CHIETA

Intelligence systems are becoming integrated into every aspect of our lives. Supplied | CHIETA

CHIETA, the chemical industries SETA, and CXI-Africa – which provides 4IR training focused on extended reality (virtual, augmented, and mixed reality) – are partnering to deliver training in the exciting world of extended reality (XR) development to 30 candidates.

The training started on 1 February 2022 and will continue for 15 weeks to mid-May, covering 12 modules that offer comprehensive and diverse skills training in XR Development (*see below).

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Yershen Pillay, chief executive officer of CHIETA, says the primary purpose of the project is to provide candidates with critical skills in XR development. “This will advance their employability within all economic sectors and enable the transformation of business processes to adopt more efficient new frontier technologies in line with global trends and the 4IR policy framework.”

“Intelligence systems are becoming integrated into every aspect of our lives.”

Recruitment of candidates for the project focused on tertiary graduates from historically and economically disadvantaged backgrounds who have the minimum required competency and capability to successfully complete the programme. The trainees are all youth, and the cohort has an equal balance of gender representation.

CXI-Africa specialises in providing comprehensive 4IR skills training and development that focuses on the growing critical scarce skills area of XR, which encompasses real and virtual environments generated by wearable devices to provide an immersive experience. Three focus areas are:

  • Virtual reality (VR), which uses head-mounted display gear to provide a simulated digital environment that makes users feel as if they are really there.
  • Augmented reality (AR), which uses smart devices to overlay sounds and digital graphics in the real world.
  • Mixed reality (MR), which encompasses the co-existence of both real world and digital objects.

CHIETA’s strategic plan takes into account the need to develop and roll out skills development and training aligned to the 4IR focus areas that will reskill and enhance the sector’s workforce for new frontier jobs, in response to rapid technological development. Pillay adds, “This will contribute to our sector remaining globally competitive, innovative, and sustainable in the foreseeable future, in line with the country’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan.”

CHIETA and CXI-Africa signed an MOA in January 2022 to create new and critically skilled human resources for the mainstream economy, benefiting organisations of all sizes as digital transformation advances in South Africa.

Pillay explains, “Intelligence systems are becoming integrated into every aspect of our lives, bringing with them significant cultural and societal changes on a global scale. South Africa has a general skills void and faces the further challenge of having to play catch-up with 4IR skills in particular, to close the digital divide in our society. This means we must prioritise skills development in this area. Our XR development project will help to close this gap, particularly in light of the fact that XR has been shown to develop a wide range of skills that include analysing, exploring, planning, configuring, decision-making, assessing and collaborating, all of which contribute to sustainable employment opportunities.”

* CXI-Africa’s 12 modules in the XR skills development programme

  • History of XR and Understanding the XR Market
  • Fundamentals of CAD and DCC
  • 2D and 3D Content Creation Pipeline
  • 3D Rigging and Animation Fundamentals
  • Scripting and Programming Concepts in XR
  • Introduction to Interactive Content Development
  • Advanced Interactive Content Development
  • Fundamentals of Mobile Application Development
  • AR Application for Mobile Devices
  • Foundations of Immersive Application Development
  • Understanding XR Controllers and Human Interfaces
  • VFX, Shaders and SFX in XR Application Development.
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