Digital Transformation Workshop: A leap forward in Industry 5.0 education

65 graduates from 12 African countries attended the Digital Transformation Workshop, which was held from 15 to 19 April 2024 in Cape Town by SARAO in collaboration with InnoGlobal, the Embassy of Ireland in South Africa, the Department of Science and Innovation, and the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory in collaboration with InnoGlobal, the Embassy of Ireland in South Africa, the Department of Science and Innovation, and the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, recently held a successful Digital Transformation Workshop, avaluable in-person experiential phase of a five-month blended learning and career readiness program.

The workshop, held from 15 to 19 April 2024 in Cape Town, was attended by 65 graduates from 12 African countries holding a 4-year Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Engineering degree, or students currently pursuing or having obtained a Master of Science or Engineering degree, as well as a few Doctoral degree candidates in various disciplines. Graduates with an interest in the pharmaceutical and food processing/manufacturing industries were selected for the workshop.

As such, the workshop, a vital component of InnoGlobal’s five-month Digital Transformation programme delivered to the students, marked a significant advance in the education and application of digital transformation principles in the pharmaceutical, medtech and food processing/manufacturing industries.

The week, hosted with the support of the Department of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology of Botswana and the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation of Ghana, formed part of a detailed five-month programme that commenced with a month-long e-learning programme, followed by live-lecturing from industry experts. The students engaged in a series of online modules and live lectures that covered key industry topics. This foundational knowledge was brought into practice during the in-person workshop, which facilitated an in-depth exploration of subjects such as Pharma, Clinical and Healthcare, Big Data, and Advanced Manufacturing 5.0.

The workshop featured a series of expert-led sessions that delved into topics such as the Automation Pyramid, Data Management, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and Predictive Analytics.

Among the prominent speakers were Dr Ian Jones of InnoGlobal; Carla Mitchell, Africa Programme Manager at SARAO; Dr Gareth Clarke who led multiple sessions on data management and IIoT; Mesha Moodley from DHL Global speaking on sector-specific challenges in life science and healthcare; Prof. Mpho Primus from the University of Johannesburg, who discussed frameworks for digital transformation in the medical devices sector; Rupert Spann, Manager of Telescope Operations Development at SARAO, who explored ‘The Information Problem’ using the growing brain as a solution; and Dorothy Lamb and Ahistha Chanerika from Fine Chemicals Corporation/Aspen, who provided industry insights on chemical production in pharmaceuticals.

“The enthusiasm and high calibre of students from around Africa are a testimony to programmes like these and the potential for innovation and development in Africa. This workshop is an important contributor to the vision of the SARAO Africa Programme where we work towards the sustainable establishment of African science and technology networks, skills, and growth of science and technology capacity in the SKA Africa Partner Countries,” said Mitchell.

An exclusive networking event on Thursday, 18 April 2024 highlighted the workshop’s collaborative spirit, with speeches from influential figures such as Zosuliwe Kala, the Trade, Skills and Education Manager from the Embassy of Ireland in South Africa, who emphasised the partnership’s role in empowering Africa’s youth. “This collaboration signifies our commitment to nurturing the talent of Africa’s youth, moulding the skills landscape of the continent’s job market, and enabling young people to capitalise on digital opportunities,” said Kala.

Anneline Morgan, Chief Director of Overseas Bilateral Cooperation at the Department of Science and Innovation, underscored the strategic significance of the partnership, said: “The alliance between South Africa and Ireland facilitates numerous joint ventures, including the Digiskills Programme, which helps us to build capabilities aligned with South Africa’s National Development Plan, as well as the African Union and SADC Digital Transformation Strategies. Private sector partnerships are vital for executing these strategies, and this workshop serves as an excellent model of how collaborative efforts can enhance capacity.”

Adan Mohamed Ibrahim from the Kenyan High Commission praised the initiative and expressed a desire to expand this cooperation, commenting, “Kenya recognises the crucial role of digital transformation and is keen to enhance this partnership.” He also encouraged participants to leverage the network they’ve built during the workshop to advance their careers.

Dr Ian Jones, Founder and CEO of InnoGlobal, reflected on the workshop’s success: “I am extremely proud of our collective achievements and the active engagement, networking, and meaningful relationships formed here, which I am confident will have a lasting impact. We will continue to work with our partners to identify mechanisms for scaling these initiatives across Africa”. He urged participants to use their new skills to assist others in their home countries, promoting CV development and encouraging participation in future workshops for continued growth.

The workshop also provided opportunities for hands-on learning, including CV preparation sessions and simulation workshops, all aimed at preparing participants for employment within life science organisations undergoing digital transformations. Participants will now take part in post-workshop sessions which will include live online lecturing, virtual and digital labs, and career mentorship continuing into the rest of the year.

The blend of e-learning and live lecturing, culminating in the hands-on workshop, exemplified the efficacy of a blended learning approach in modern education. The programme will continue over the next two months with additional eLearning, live lecturing and individual career coaching to help transition the participants into impactful employment.

More about the partners of this initiative


Innoglobal is helping businesses, nations and global regions make a people-centric, twin transition to a green and digital next-generation economy. InnoGlobal coordinates and delivers multiple up-reskilling programmes across the globe and
bespoke customised training for all levels in an organisation to develop the digital
transformational skill sets. InnoGlobal is achieving it through its unique approach based on partnerships with both public and private Higher Education Institutions and Government Agencies.

With support from its Irish-based sister company Innopharma Education, they are successfully reshaping how industry and people work. The success of its skills programmes to meet industry needs and government priorities is due to the links it has with the industry. Its industry experts liaise with industry groups to identify current and future skills needs and on programme design. As well as that, students
benefit from a core support structure which is a major factor in securing employment up/reskilling employers of the future.

More information about InnoGlobal’s unique approach to upskilling can be found here.

For more information contact:
Dr Daniela Angione, Head of Funding and Innovation at InnoGlobal

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO)

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), a facility of the National Research Foundation, is responsible for managing all radio astronomy initiatives and facilities in South Africa, including the MeerKAT Radio Telescope in the Karoo, and the Geodesy and VLBI activities at the HartRAO facility. SARAO also coordinates the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network (AVN) for the eight SKA partner countries in Africa, as well as South Africa’s contribution to the infrastructure and engineering planning for the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope. To maximise the return on South Africa’s investment in radio astronomy, SARAO is managing programmes to create capacity in radio astronomy science and engineering research, and the technical capacity required to support site operations.

For more information contact:
Dr Bonita de Swardt
Programme Manager: Strategic Partnerships for Human Capital Development

Note: Funding for DigiSkills Africa 2024 is kindly provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland through the Irish Embassy in South Africa and InnoGlobal.