If you are one of the privileged few who have found gainful employment, you can prepare yourself to spend a huge part of your life at work. For many, work will become their life to a great degree. So it is important that you don’t just slog through your days, gossiping about co-workers and endlessly taking tea breaks in between checking out your social media feeds. That way lies boredom and a life less lived. Check in at IMPRESS to learn how you can positively manage your relationships, ensure you give the best possible impression of yourself and your contribution, and not only survive in the workplace, but thrive!
Great news for prospective students who want to study towards a globally recognised, quality qualification at a private higher education institution instead of a public university: JSE-listed ADvTECH, SA's largest private education provider, announced that its acquisition of Monash South Africa (MSA) has become unconditional following the fulfilment of all conditions precedent, including approval by the Competition Tribunal.
MSA is now being incorporated into ADvTECH's higher education division, The Independent Institute of Education, and will be branded IIE MSA.
"We are delighted to be able to add MSA, which offers a world-class education environment, with a strong track record for student employability, outstanding pass rates and qualification completion times, to our existing portfolio of highly respected brands which includes Varsity College, Vega and Rosebank College," says Roy Douglas, ADvTECH Group CEO.
The IIE MSA campus, located on Johannesburg's West Rand, is one of the largest private higher education precincts in the country. With a capacity for 6 500 students, it boasts extensive education facilities which include laboratories, sports facilities and four student residences.
In addition to a state-of-the-art campus, IIE MSA also adds a comprehensive suite of premium programmes, an extensive executive education and training portfolio and highly sought-after programmes such as engineering and public health to the IIE offering.
Together with the recent High Court judgment in favour of The Independent Institute of Education, confirming that registered and accredited qualifications from the private institution are on par with those of public universities, represents a substantial development for the private higher education sector in South Africa, and The IIE in particular.
"We are buoyed by these recent developments, which mean that we are increasingly able to make a greater contribution to higher and tertiary education in the country, in line with the way private universities are able to do internationally," says Douglas.
"This is good news for prospective students throughout the country, whose options continue to grow, with the ability to receive a globally recognised quality qualification from a respected institution outside of the public university sector becoming a reality for more young people."
Technology has taken the world by storm and its use now pervades arguably all fields. The education sector is also embracing the potential that technology offers, with good schools and universities incorporating tech to strengthen educational outcomes. But with devices and applications now ubiquitous across generations of learning – from infants to doctoral candidates – an expert has warned that teachers and lecturers must be strategic and judicious about technology, so that it supports learning rather than sabotages it.
Aaron Koopman, Head of Programme: Faculty of Commerce at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider, says being cautious is particularly important at school level, where habits for lifelong learning are either adopted or abandoned.
"One of the most important areas of risk, is where technology hinders the development of social and collaborative skills," he notes.
"Collaboration and teamwork are global competencies and rely on the ability of learners to engage with others to reach shared outcomes. While there are ways in which technology can be used, such as online engagement with people on another continent, a document sharing process or a blog, it is also critical to promote collaboration, which means teachers must ensure that the face-to-face engagement skills of young learners in particular are developed," he says.
Another area of concern, is where the convenience (for educators) and addictiveness (for learners) of technology lead to a situation where it effectively replaces teachers, similar to home environments where screens become de facto babysitters.
"The most effective way to use technology is to support, extend, reinforce and enhance teaching. It becomes a risk however when one assumes that children can learn independently via technology, particularly when it is not at all interactive or responsive."
It is also problematic when technology is passive, for instance when learners and students use e-books that cannot be annotated.
"This renders them less supportive of learning than hard copy books that can underlined," says Koopman.
A significant danger arises where technology is not managed, he adds.
"Over and above the obvious risks when young people access inappropriate material online, classroom management of devices is critical. If a distracted young person can virtually wander off and play a game or spend time on social media during class time because of a lack of environmental management, valuable teaching time is lost.
"It is therefore necessary for good schools and institutions to put in place measures whereby they can lock down what can be accessed during class time, or through other management approaches. Having a management strategy is, however, non-negotiable."
Finally, tech fails can make for major teaching headaches.
"While it makes sense to allow learners and students to bring their own devices, that can cause problems when time is wasted on incompatible operating systems or devices that are not properly charged. Good schools and institutions must specify standards for devices and have sufficient plugs and charging stations to assist with this. Good connectivity on campus is also crucial.
"Having said that, technology should not take over to such degree that learning stops when devices drop us. Good teachers should be able to keep the class learning even if half or all their devices fail. They should be able to transition into a collaborative lesson or even abandon devices completely and still be able achieve the same outcomes without tech."
Koopman says that technology's advantages cannot be overstressed. But that equally, the importance of good real-life teachers should never be under-estimated.
"Excellent teachers stimulate interest, they create excitement in the classroom, they engage with learners and they broaden the thinking of learners. They are able to relate concepts and principles to learners and customise the learning experience to the needs of the individual learners who all have different styles," he says.
"Quality teaching is in fact technology independent – if schools genuinely believe in the centrality of teaching as the magic of a learning process they will make technology decisions that support learning and teaching, not undermine it."
DID YOU KNOW?
The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) is a division of the JSE-listed ADvTECH Group, Africa's largest private education provider. The IIE is the largest, most accredited registered private higher education institute in South Africa, and the only one accredited by The British Accreditation Council (BAC), the independent quality assurance authority that accredits private institutions in the UK. By law, private higher education institutions in South Africa may not call themselves Private Universities, although registered private institutions are subject to the same regulations, accreditation requirements and oversight as Public Universities.
The IIE has a history in education and training since 1909, and its brands - Rosebank College, Varsity College, The Business School at Varsity College and Vega - are widely recognised and respected for producing workplace-ready graduates, many of whom become industry-leaders in their chosen fields. The IIE offers a wide range of qualifications, from post-graduate degrees to short courses, on 20 registered higher education campuses across South Africa.
Senior high school learners from Grade 9 to 12 should not only spend energy on mastering their academic work, but also on mastering those study habits that will set them up for a lifetime of effective learning - from when they hit varsity to when they enter the workplace, an expert says.
"Mastering the mechanics of learning is just as important as the learning itself, and is a crucial component of handling the demands of higher education once learners become students," says Dr Gillian Mooney, Dean: Academic Development and Support at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider.
"When learners enter their final years of school, it is no longer just about the amount of time they spend in front of their books, but also about the quality of that time. These years are the optimal ones for developing the skills that will help them manage the increasing workloads of they will face in future," she says.
Mooney says there are a few basics that senior learners can start putting in place as part of their regular routines, which will clear the administrative clutter on their desks and in their minds, allowing them to learn faster and focus purely on the subject at hand:
"When we look at those students who successfully navigate their first year in higher education, it is clear that they are the ones who bring with them the habits that enable effective learning, combined with a resilient mindset," says Mooney.
"Many students don't enter higher education with these skills, which is why good institutions have the support structures in place to assist and guide them. But those who heed the warning to start cultivating these skills in senior high school and arrive at the doors of higher learning with those behaviours already entrenched, are undoubtedly at an advantage."
Many job applicants think – incorrectly – that the war is pretty much won once their CV gets the nod and they get invited to a job interview. Yet the shortlisting is only the first hurdle and, once cleared, candidates must prepare to compete on a very different level against other candidates who also passed muster on paper, an expert says.
"Interviews can be scary affairs, and anxiety often trips up otherwise deserving candidates," says Wonga Ntshinga, Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education, the largest and most accredited private higher education institution in South Africa.
"The purpose of an interview is to get to know a candidate more closely, and to try and determine which shortlisted candidate will be the best fit not only for the work and a position's unique challenges, but also for the company and its culture. And the best defence against wasting a valuable interview opportunity is to be prepared. Very prepared," he says.
"If you have all your ducks in a row by the time you go and sit in front of the panel, you will be the master of your destiny - not your fear and anxiety."
Ntshinga says the following should be kept in mind in the lead-up to the interview:
Pay attention to detail
Do your research about the position and the company, opportunities and challenges. List and rehearse your career highlights as they relate to the requirements of the job you want to land. Focus on what you are currently doing, what you have done, and what you expect to contribute in future. Demonstrate how you will solve problems, manage projects and make decisions.
Understand that your track record is constructed throughout your life
When showcasing who you are and what you have done, source relevant and exciting examples wherever you can find them – whether from school, higher education or previous positions. Prove that you have successfully worked with various kinds of teams, for instance large-scale, diverse or acrosss continents, and that you understand how the physical world works.
Keep it clean
Realise that when two candidates are equal, the one that is able to demonstrate a positive impact on their community, and resilience and strength of character, is more likely to land the job. A good reputation is an invaluable asset. If there is a negative in your past, be prepared to convince the panel that you have grown and learned from it.
Demonstrate that you are part of a professional community
Join and become active in your industry body or a professional organisation. It shows that you are not an island and are committed to growing your career.
Fake and fumble
Preparation is key. Know what you want to say, and find opportunities to do so in the questions that are posed. Ditch the unnecessarily lengthy monologues, and answer questions honestly and precisely. Above all, answer questions in a cool, calm and friendly manner. Show your entrepreneurial spirit, by providing examples of times you have looked for innovative solutions to problems.
Think your good grades and technical proficiency will pull you through
There is a good chance that most of the candidates competing with you during the interview stage will have the same level of subject expertise as you. That is why you have to demonstrate how you as an individual will be the best choice. Amplify and articulate your technical skills, but be sure to also showcase your great communication and strategic skills, and your emotional intelligence.
Let your social media activities destroy your real-life opportunities
All employers will do a social media background check on prospective employees. Online mistakes can last forever, so always be very responsible in your posts and interactions. If you have beef with someone, take it offline and solve the problem like an adult. Nothing says "stay away" like seeing unsavoury exchanges on your candidate's timeline. So, even before you apply for a position, do a personal social media audit and ask yourself the question – would you hire the person you are seeing in those facebook posts and tweets? If not, you should invest some time in developing a more professional online presence.
With little more than two weeks of the Matric final exams left, an education expert has warned learners to keep the focus right to the end, because what lies ahead could still mean the difference between make or break.
"It would be understandable – but a mistake – for Grade 12s at this stage to feel that what's done is done, and that they don't have much power to change things or improve on their overall performance in their remaining papers," says Wonga Ntshinga, Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education institution.
He says with the worst behind them, and exam fatigue threatening a sustained effort, learners should remember that their one or two remaining papers could yet make a very real and decisive difference to their future options.
"It is worth taking stock now of where you are, engineering a mind shift, and getting to a space where you are able to stay strong, motivated and effective right until the end," he says.
"Ultimately, a handful of points on a paper could influence whether your final symbol goes up or down, which should be encouragement enough to ensure you put in your very best effort even on the so-called easier subjects that may come."
However after a year of studying, exams, revision and more revision, as well as the stress and anxiety learners had to manage during the finals, it may take more than positive encouragement to get the focus back, says Ntshinga.
Learners – with the help of their parents and guardians – should therefore consider the following strategy to get them back to an in it to win it attitude. Ntshinga says they should:
KEEP THE END GOAL IN MIND
Visualise your plans for next year, and match that dream with the performance you need to get there. That means not just the performance on, for instance, the 5 papers you have already completed, but also the 2 that are still to come.
Many of the subjects that are still to be written are ones that were chosen to score "easier points" to improve overall matric scores, and that strategy should not be abandoned now that the jackpot is within sight.
STICK TO YOUR ROSTER AND AVOID CRAMMING
Keep putting in a solid, consistent effort on your remaining work in line with how you planned your approach at the start of the exams. Don't be tempted to take unnecessary days off now, with the intention of cramming later. Yes, the pace has let up from the earlier weeks in the exam, but don't let relief at seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, combined with fatigue, derail your momentum.
KEEP PUTTING ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER, COMPLETE SMALL TASKS
Break up your remaining workload into smaller, easier to complete sections rather than attempting to sit down for hours at a time to study entire textbooks in one go. Now really is the time to eat the proverbial elephant one bite at a time. Be easy on yourself, but be consistent in your efforts. Just keep going one piece of work at a time, and then tackle the next and the next.
AVOID CATASTROPHISING THOUGHTS
Don't let negative emotional energy over what's happened so far in the exams impact on what you can still do. If things have gone well, sustained effort can mean that things go even better than you aimed for. If things had not gone well, renewed and continued effort can mean the difference between having a range of study options or limited prospects. Whichever it is, it is important to understand that there will be options, and that every bit you do now has the potential to increase the chances of you being able to study what you want, where you want.
GET SOME EXERCISE AND A CHANGE OF SCENERY
Finally, now is a good time to also get out of the musty study rut, and to start smelling the flowers of freedom. Take a walk, give yourself a special treat during your scheduled downtime, or do something new. There's a whole new and exciting world waiting for you on the other side of the last sentence of the last paper you write, so allow yourself to look forward to it, while also ensuring you give yourself the absolute best launchpad you possibly can.
"Once you've started your Matric year, you will have very little time to focus on ensuring you choose the right course and the right institution for you, because of the workload, endless rounds of revision and exams, and all the fun and functions that go with your last year at school," says Peter Kriel, General Manager at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest and most accredited private higher education provider.
Kriel says many Grade 12s get so caught up in the social and academic demands of their final year, that they don't spend enough time ensuring they investigate all their options and apply timeously to university or private higher education. This could lead to them missing out on a space, settling for second best, and diluting their Matric study efforts with stress and anxiety about what they are going to do after school.
"Another thing that Grade 11s are often not aware of, is that they can submit applications on the basis of their Grade 11 marks, which means that they can then focus wholely and completely on Grade 12, without further concern or distraction about what happens the year after. In addition, knowing what you want and where you are going at the start of the year, will also help you focus your study efforts, as you'll know exactly what you need to achieve during the year and at your final exams."
Kriel says that the changed Higher Education landscape in South Africa means that prospective students now have many more options than what they had in the past, when the default approach was to enter a public university for a 3-year degree.
But he warns that because there are so many more options now, prospective students also have more work to do to ensure that they find the right course and right institution for their unique goals.
"Finding the right study direction should be on top of your priority list when finding out about what and where to study," he says.
"In addition, selecting an institution that will meet your needs is the most important aspect of helping you prepare for your future."
Kriel warns that while the websites and brochures of institutions may provide one with the basic information about which programmes are on offer, the process of applying and cost, merely looking at brochures and websites may not give you the type of information that would really allow you to make an informed decision.
"In fact, all institutions would provide you with course information, but no institution will state that the size of the Business Management 1 class is over 500 or that it is really challenging getting academic support on campus. Therefore, the only way to find out about such underlying aspects is to ask the right questions. And to do so thoroughly takes time – time which you are not likely to have next year."
Kriel says when evaluating institutions, future students should attend open days, physically visit the campus, and make telephonic or written contact.
"These actions and the way your inquiries are handled will provide a solid indication of what you can expect from an institution going forward."
For Grade 11s who are serious about getting their ducks in a row before jumping in the Matric pond, Kriel has a handy checklist that will help them determine which institutions will be able to provide them with the highest quality education. He says prospective students should ask institutions the following questions:
Here is a collection of fantastic advice to help you through to the very last paper, from our experts at at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education institution.
Increasing automisation of business processes is driving the demand for qualified and experienced business analysts, as these professionals are uniquely positioned to help companies adapt, innovate and reinvent in a challenging environment, an expert says.
"For an organisation to retain its competitive advantage, it is constantly required to identify new opportunities and different ways of conducting its business, and human insight and understanding remain invaluable in this context," says Wonga Ntshinga, Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest and most accredited private higher education institution.
He says some of the challenges still faced by organisations, particularly in South Africa, and in both the public and private sector, include:
Ntshinga says that public universities and higher education institutions are increasingly recognising the need for qualifications that specifically address these emerging organisational demands, which will only increase in coming years.
"To survive and thrive as the fourth industrial revolution begins to manifest, organisations and companies need to adapt, innovate and reinvent. Institutions of learning therefore need to prepare students for this reality, where customers are smarter, enterprises are extending, business models are continuously changing, and where there is an increase in intelligent automation and Artificial Intelligence application.
"Business Analysis is a relatively new discipline that draws on and consolidates learning and experiences from other fields, and prepares students for this skill of the future.
"We predict a marked rise in coming years in the demand for well-rounded graduates who have proper technical depth combined with a good appreciation of the business edge of ICT."
Ntshinga explains that Business Analysis involves the understanding of how organisations function to accomplish their purpose, and the ability to define and implement the capabilities an organisation requires to effectively provide products and services to external stakeholders.
"Business analysis, as a discipline, gives students and graduates an opportunity to analyse business needs and challenges, to propose creative, workable and desired solutions that are financially sound."
In order to do this, Business Analysts are required to:
"As organisations will increasingly require professionals who can ensure that IT service management integrates people, processes and technology initiatives to deliver business value, there will be an increase in demand for candidates who can demonstrate that they are qualified and up to this complex task. Ultimately, these professionals will have to ensure that they address challenges of duplication, redundancy, the lack of standardisation, and inconsistent measurement and control."
The IIE has a history in education and training since 1909, and its brands - Rosebank College, Varsity College and Vega - are widely recognised and respected for producing workplace-ready graduates, many of whom become industry-leaders in their chosen fields. The IIE offers a wide range of qualifications, from post-graduate degrees to short courses, on 20 registered higher education campuses across South Africa.
Vega, a brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), is proud to announce that 11 of its students will form the Brand Council South Africa (BCSA) Student Council, which will contribute towards the BCSA's vision of creating a unified voice for the professional branding community in South Africa.
The BCSA Student Council is a first for South Africa's branding industry, and was established to provide young people with a seat at the table, giving students a platform to participate and have their say at an industry level.
"It's vital that we encourage more young people, especially those at tertiary level trying to enter the industry, to get involved and be aware of the issues facing the branding community at large," says Anli Grobler, Senior Academic Navigator and BCSA board member. "We also have a responsibility to nurture the next generation of professionals, to ensure the industry's sustainability going forward."
Get to know the 2017 BCSA Student Council
Moosa Molibeli, currently studying a BCom Honours in Strategic Brand Management, believes that her "weird perspective on the world" is what sets her apart, and describes herself as the perfect balance between an analytical and creative thinker.
Marvyn Msipha is currently in his final year of studying a BCom in Strategic Brand Management and says that he has always had an interest in understanding what makes people tick and their reasoning behind making decisions, leading to his love of business and marketing.
Sarah Connolly is a third year student studying a BA in Strategic Brand Communication, and says that her love of travel is responsible for opening her eyes to a variety of different cultures and customs, which helps inform a more well-rounded view of the world.
Matthew Smit says he chose to study a BCom in Strategic Brand Management because of his interest in how detail-oriented the world of marketing and branding is, and how this impacts brands and businesses.
Juahara Khan is a third-year student currently studying a BA in Strategic Brand Communication. Her interests include micro-blogging, photography and social media. Khan believes that it's important to hold on to your dreams, and to use these to find your purpose in life.
Jayce Davin is a third-year BA Creative Brand Communication student. "As a creative my work is didactic, my thoughts eclectic and my executions holistic," he says. When he isn't reading, playing sport or drinking copious amounts of coffee, Davin dedicates his time to running an educational NPO.
Siyabulela Mafanya is currently studying a BBA in Brand Building and Management , and is an active member of the Vega community, having been a member of the Vega Student Liaison Body for two years. She describes herself as resilient and optimistic with an adventurous soul.
Bernice Puleng Mosala is a writer and performer, studying towards a BA in Creative Brand Communications. Mosala was awarded a trip to New York for a creative event strategy she developed for Viacom.
Kieran Kohler is currently studying a BCom in Strategic Brand Management, and has a love for tech and understanding how things are made, how they work and how they impact people. He describes himself as a perfectionist and sees unsolved problems as a personal challenge.
Zama Makhaza is a 21-year-old second-year BA Strategic Brand Communications student with an inquisitive mind and a penchant for taking roads less travelled. She enjoys sharing knowledge and working with others who can help open her mind to new ideas.
Vega is currently the only higher education institution that is part of the BCSA, but the organisation aims to attract more schools and students to take part in the future.
"While the BCSA Student Council is currently made up entirely of students from Vega, the aim is to work towards attracting students from a variety of institutions to join, in order to increase student involvement across the industry," says Grobler.
*DID YOU KNOW?
IIE - The Independent Institute of Education is South Africa's largest private higher education provider. (Think #PrivateSchools, but in the university space).
By law, private higher education institutions may not call themselves Private Universities.
But all registered private institutions are subject to exactly the same regulations, accreditation requirements and oversight as Public Universities, which means that your IIE qualification completed at any of the institution's outstanding and respected brands, such as Varsity College Vega School, Rosebank College and The Business School, is recognised locally and internationally, and will set you on the path to the career of your dreams.
TIA BANDA - AN IIE BACHELOR OF ARTS IN CORPORATE COMMUNICATION GRADUATE FROM VARSITY COLLEGE SANDTON (2015) - LANDED AN INTERNSHIP WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM HER FRIENDS AT THE CAREER CENTRE. NOW, SHE IS LIVING HER DREAM AND SOLIDLY ON TRACK TO A FANTASTIC CAREER IN COMMUNICATIONS.
Description of your duties on a daily basis
As a PR Intern at PRISA, I am required to write press releases, work on communication plans, write sponsorship documents, build and update media lists and constantly manage media platforms. I also write monthly reports on social media and assist with administrative duties.
Why did you choose the qualification you studied?
My choice in this qualification was actually based on instinct. I was not aware that a Corporate Communications degree existed. I was introduced to it when I spoke with a Varsity College Student Adviser and I then decided that it was a career path that made sense to me, as it fits perfectly with my personality and skills. I also believe that with the help of some of the lecturers at Varsity College I was able to really tap into my potential.
Is your qualification relevant to your job? If so, did your studies adequately prepare you for your job?
Yes, this qualification is relevant to my current role. As a PR intern, I am required to draft a communication plan and internal communication strategy. I did both of these tasks as assignments at Varsity College. Some of the lecturers also gave us fantastic real life examples of their experiences in the corporate world and it is only now that I realize how valuable their advice was.
What is your greatest career achievement to date?
Securing an internship in an institute, that is specifically in line with my studies, is an opportunity I honestly feel not a lot of people get. Working at PRISA has also given me the opportunity to work at a community radio station every Tuesdays. This is also an amazing experience and I look forward to growing in the communications and media industry. I know that PRISA is a great start.
What are your future career plans?
I plan on owning my own PR consultancy agency or working for international corporate giants at senior level in the corporate communication department. I also don't mind doing radio on a part time basis as it is something I enjoy.
How has the Career Centre assisted you while you were at Varsity College and / or as a graduate?
When I had secured a second interview at PRISA, I contacted the Career Centre Coordinator for some guidance. She prepared me with interview questions and guidelines. On the day of the interview, I met with her first for a mock interview. This helped me so much and I believe it was because of her help that I was able to ace the second interview.
What was the one thing that stood out the most for you about Varsity College?
The assistance and support system from my lecturers. They are absolutely amazing.
What advice could you give to other students who are looking for or about to embark on their first job?
Thoroughly prepare for interviews because that is ultimately your first impression! Do not be afraid to ask questions if you do not understand. The work environment can be quite intimidating and scary, however the professionals expect you to be proactive and to ask questions. It is part of learning. Remember to listen as well. You will acquire more knowledge if you enter the workplace with an open mind and tell yourself that you don't know everything.
But all registered private institutions are subject to exactly the same regulations, accreditation requirements and oversight as Public Universities, which means that your IIE qualification completed at any of the institution's outstanding and respected brands, such as Varsity College Vega School, Rosebank College and The Business School, is as valuable and is recognised locally and internationally.