Skills for a Digital Age

Skills are a core component of the future of work all over the world. Especially in emerging markets.

As global connectivity, gig work, automation, and artificial intelligence transform every economic sector, the skills required to participate in the global economy are changing. This project explores how societies can adjust to equip working individuals—both those in the workforce and those about to enter it—with the skills they need to access meaningful work. These skills are critical enablers: of people’s capacity to provide for their families and their futures, of companies’ ability to thrive, and of broad economic growth as countries transition to digital economies.

Our ‘Skills for a Digital Age’ Matrix does not focus exclusively on “digital skills”, but, rather, on the broader set of skills required for a digital age. We also look at suitable and innovative delivery channels that support varying levels of digital access.

See our latest work on Platform-Led Upskilling.

‘Skills for a Digital Age’ Matrix

Filled with some indicative examples


Interpersonal Training*
e.g., classroom and call centers

Online Training
e.g., training videos, IVR helplines

In-Workflow Moments
E.g., platform nudges and cues

Vocation Specific

Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and Commonwealth Bank in Indonesia ran a skills-building masterclass to teach small businesses business planning, marketing, and trend analysis.

Flipkart’s “SellOnFlipkart” YouTube Channel trains MSEs in India via quick tips and tricks to become a better e-commerce seller.

Gokada offers training through push notifications sent to drivers through their app (e.g. tips on how to improve driving safety standards).

Digital Green trains farmers through offline, community videos featuring agricultural practices.

General Digital Literacy

Copia trains their small retail outlets on how to use FB and WA to conduct business digitally.

Facebook runs a digital skills training programme called My Digital World to train youth on safe, responsible and beneficial usage of digital platforms.

Upwork’s form-based application process forces freelancers to follow guidelines on how to build out a strong profile.

Financial Literacy & Business Skills

Technoserve’s SmartDuka program trained small retail shops face-to-face on how to use a mobile app for record-keeping and inventory management.

Digifarm trains SHF on how to leverage financial products through Arifu’s interactive SMS learning tool.

Jumia’s AI Sellers Coach: A tool integrated into the vendor “Sellers Center” portal that guides sellers to improve their businesses through subtle hints on how to track and increase sales.

Soft Skills

Sendy trains their drivers on a range of skills, including soft skills and communication, during their half a day, interactive onboarding training sessions.

Lynk does online training via Lynk Lounge, an area of the app with videos and text training modules on topics including customer service.

Max.NG’s driver performance unit uses IOT technology to track drivers in real time and gives them feedback (e.g., improving ratings through good customer service).

* Face-to-face or other forms of real-time interaction with human trainers

Project Goals

  1. To investigate the changing skills landscape and sketch out ‘skills for a digital age’; and
  2. To build communities of practice around this topic to inspire new collaborations between the development sector and companies driving new modes of income generation.

Platform-Led Upskilling

Our first project within Skills for a Digital Age, “Platform-Led Upskilling”, explores how marketplace platforms are investing in upskilling the workers and small-scale vendors active on their platforms because it’s necessary for their businesses to succeed. Sometimes this training results in skills that workers can use both on and off the platform and that could play a transformational role in their livelihoods. This project is supported by The Mastercard Foundation, which named Young Africa Works as its overarching goal and strategy for the next decade. Learn more about Platform-Led Upskilling on our website and read the full white paper here.

Get in Touch

Reach out to us with a little information on your work and why Skills for a Digital Age caught your attention. Your message will go directly to our team’s inbox—not into the void—so expect a personal response.

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