Trends and Events

Futurists make predictions by assessing the prevailing trends and then they try and factor in unpredictable events that could shift paradigms.

Events tend to be catastrophic and are very difficult to predict.

Of all the unpredictable events, Covid-19, is the most widespread, the most sudden and by far the most devastating to the planet since World War II.

The World is still dealing with the pandemic and we therefore cannot be entirely sure what the implications are and when the world will return to normality.

What we do know is that whatever the exact future the world returns to, it will not be exactly where the world was prior to the pandemic.


We can be sure that the following will shape our thinking into the future

  • In the short term the world economy will enter a deep recession.
  • People have become much more comfortable working from home and using technology to interact with stakeholders.
  • Travel, tourism, and the hospitality industry may never return to normality.
  • Strengthening the social immune system, focusing on the need for everyone to be healthy.
  • Collaboration, inter-state, intra-state, working together will create new opportunities.
  • Climate, the planet and protection of species both wild and domesticated will be pursued.
  • Being frugal, saving, recycling, doing without for business, for individuals for governments.

More and more the concept of a VUCA world is becoming the vogue. A world that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. We do, however have three megatrends that assists in enabling us to map a course through the future.


The three megatrends that are having a major impact on the world today and are;

Each are causing greater and greater inequalities in the world, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

In the developing world in general and in South Africa in particular, education and skills development have an essential role to play in closing the gap between the poor and unemployable, and the rich and empowered.

Digitalisation in Manufacturing

In Manufacturing this means the rise of artificial intelligence.

This will provide, paradoxically, the largest opportunity for global business but, simultaneously, pose the largest threat to low and middle skilled jobs.

With artificial intelligence, manufacturers will be able to produce products repetitively with zero defect and zero potential contamination.

With the implementation of artificial intelligence people packing manually or doing slicing, cutting or any repetitive unskilled or semi-skilled work will be potentially replaced by robots.

At the same time first-line supervision and quality controllers will largely become redundant. This means the profile of an operator into the future will require more advanced skills and responsibilities.

We need to provide skills that enable the present and future workforce to adapt to this changing technology.

Skills required in Manufacturing

What are the new skills required in the high-tech new manufacturing environment?

Our workforce, at all levels but particularly on the shop floor, need a change in skills, or they will simply be replaced over time and will not be able to gain fruitful employment into the future. With 50% unemployment we cannot allow this to take place.

From our research and discussions with senior leaders in the manufacturing sector, it is our belief that manufacturing organisations in the future require operators to be multi-skilled problem-solvers.

They need to be self-directed, able to operate sophisticated electronic plants and machinery, diagnose when it fails, provide elements of autonomous maintenance and manage the quality of process, product and plant. With the present skills level of the operator this is impossible without identifying the fundamental and critical skills required to underpin the outcomes above.

But we cannot just develop our present workforce we also need to be aware that every year more and more people are entering the world of work who are more technologically savvy but not able to find meaningful employment.

FMCG Process and Packaging Operator

Optimum has, over time, developed an ideal profile for a FMCG Process and Packaging Operator for the future and have identified underpinning fundamental and critical skills as well as attributes that are required before the high levels of skills listed above can be learnt and applied.

Fundamental Skills – the 3 “R’s”

The fundamental skills of reading, writing and arithmetic but added to these, fundamental knowledge of computers, costings and budgeting, physical science and personal mastery are essential skills for the future.

Personal Mastery is an overarching term that includes certain inter-personal skills, teamwork and self-discipline, as well some fundamental work skills such as objective formulation, planning, developing a personal SWOT Analysis and reflection.

Critical Skills – the 4 C’s

Expanding from the fundamental skills are four critical skills identified by UNESCO for the 21st Century, this provides for meta-cognition, the development of the left-brain rational thinking, lean and continuous improvement as well as the right brain, focussing on creative thinking which develops the imagination and innovation.

The four skills are called the 4C’s namely Critical Thinking, Creative thinking, Communication (able to influence as well as fierce, honest, assertive communication skills) and Collaboration (self-directed teamwork).

Optimum is developing competencies to be able to assess for the fundamental and critical skills and deliver to those areas that are lacking in both the employed and unemployed.

Without these skills, further development of the technological, manufacturing excellence and problem-solving skills that are necessary for the future will not be successful.

Bold Plan

Optimum realises that during and post Covid-19 the world will not be the same and the new normal will require training providers to deliver in such a way, that it focuses on the acquisition of knowledge and the development of skills in the most technological and cost efficient and effective way.

In a depressed economy where finances will be stretched, we are embarking on a bold plan to provide a service now and into the future that focuses on an end-to-end solution in a much more collaborative and cost-effective way.


Optimum will make use of multiple techniques and methodologies including technology to achieve:

  • Delivery excellence,
  • Provide internal and external coaching,
  • Ensure the seamless transfer of credits, where applicable,
  • Recognition of Prior Learning where possible
  • Fit for purpose, relevant and appropriate assessment prior during and after delivery.

Project Management

Our unequalled project management will include the use of electronic logbooks, electronic evidence collection, an efficient, transparent and real-time learner management system and we will strive for a totally paperless system to deliver fit for purpose occupational learning, not only for the shop floor, but also for all levels of operations in manufacturing and the supply chain.

Skills for the 21st Century

End-to-end solution – unemployed


Optimum would like to engage with interested customers to define their unique needs and provide a solution that best suits their specific context, access and dependence on data and technology and appetite to transition to online learning.

If you would like more information on our plan and how we can assist you, please provide your details and we will contact you.