Welcome to 4IR, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an era of rapid progress in science and technology as well as a time of big socio-economic, and environmental challenges. With the current pace of innovation, it’s vital for children and young people to seize the opportunity to shape the future of the world.

4IR technologies are transforming every aspect of our lives, including how we learn, communicate, work, entertain ourselves, get around and get healthcare. It’s up to the youth to ensure that 4IR technological innovations from advanced robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to automation and machine learning are ultimately harnessed to accelerate transition to green economy, and create a world that is more inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous.

Science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, and innovation (STEAMI) disciplines can empower one to catalyse positive change for their communities and beyond. Here are five key ways that a STEAMI-focused set of skills, knowledge, and capabilities can prepare you for the future and equip you to help shape our world for the better:

Building a more sustainable planet

Climate change has emerged as one of the biggest challenges we face today. It’s key to move towards net-zero in a way that protects and preserves jobs. STEAMI skills are essential in developing innovative solutions such as green hydrogen energy for reducing climate emissions in every sector, from energy to manufacturing to agriculture and transportation.

Growing economies and prosperity

Building STEAMI skills or studying for related qualifications will equip you to be an innovator and entrepreneur. People with STEAMI expertise and skills can help develop new products and technologies that accelerates economic growth and address challenges businesses and people face today.

Creating healthier societies

Public healthcare is a priority in a world that has lived through COVID-19. STEAMI is essential in addressing public health challenges, from developing new treatments for diseases such as cancer, through to using data to drive better healthcare outcomes for all. Consider how ARV rollouts have turned HIV/AIDs from a public health crisis into a manageable condition, or how the vaccination drive helped to end the COVID crisis.

Getting future-ready

With many traditional jobs getting automated, careers of the future will depend on human capabilities like empathy, critical thinking, judgement and creativity. STEAMI equips you with the intellectual tools you need to remain relevant in a changing world. The arts and innovation elements of STEAMI are vital in enabling people to develop qualities and abilities machines can’t replicate, helping us to solve social, technical and economic problems in an empathic and creative way.

Understanding and improving our world

STEAMI enables you to be part of the rich story of human progress, which has been powered by millennia of curiosity and discovery. From studying subatomic particles, to investigating ecosystems and uncovering the secrets of distant planets, STEAMI helps us understand the origin of our universe so we can improve it. South African STEAMI professionals have been at the forefront of discovery—from the team at Rhodes University that identified the prehistoric coelacanth fish in 1938 to the scientists in the Karoo mapping the skies with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA project), the world’s largest radio telescope.

Sasol TechnoX 2023 is our career showcase for learners, dedicated to inspiring and empowering the next generation of innovators with hands-on experiences in STEAMI disciplines. Whether you attend physically or virtually, you can engage with exhibitors, attend talks and workshops, and explore the latest technologies and career opportunities.

Check out https://sasoltechnox.co.za to register and learn more.

  • Noxolo Kahlana, Head of the Sasol Foundation
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