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Oct 23

The adage that first impressions last should serve as a warning to employers seeking to improve diversity in their companies, an expert says.

"Potential employers too often still evaluate applicants based on their initial impressions, with the result that their unconscious biases continue to influence hiring decisions," says Georgina Barrick, MD of Cassel&Co, Insource ICT and IT Edge – the specialised recruitment agencies of ADvTECH Resourcing focusing on Finance, Accounting and IT.

"It is time for companies to consider the need for first impressions to literally be the last thing they consider, and to make hiring decisions based on attitude and skills to avoid discarding talent that doesn't fit preconceived notions.

"If we're going to achieve real workplace diversity, we need to focus on hiring skills that will keep pace with our changing environment and with the thinking required to both maintain 'business as usual' and to innovate and disrupt," she says.

Barrick says there are a number of new and exciting innovations in hiring that can assist in properly uncovering functional competence. 

"Hiring managers continue to favour the more traditional, unstructured interviews despite multiple studies finding this style of interview to be among the worst predictor of actual and future job performance. Unfortunately, unstructured interviews allow unconscious or 'implicit' bias into the hiring process, which perpetuates homogeneity in organisations, because managers continue to appoint people based on feeling rather than fact," she says.

"It's human nature, and very tempting, to 'hire in your own image' because the familiar is comforting. We do business with people we like and who are like us. However research has unequivocally proven the benefits of diversity – including improved earnings, enhanced problem solving, increased growth and innovation, and improved quality of work."

It therefore makes sense for organisations to review their approach to shortlisting prospective candidates, and to ensure that the truly talented, qualified and experienced candidates aren't lost from the get go.

So what measures can organisations take to ensure they don't lose top talent based on first impressions?

Barrick says they should consider adding the following approaches to their hiring repertoire:


A blind audition allows all candidates to be adjudicated first – and primarily – on their functional competencies, including knowledge, skill and experience.

Using software such as, for instance, GapJumpers, companies get candidates to complete anonymous challenges that demonstrate their skills and test whether they are qualified to perform a job. The software then strips CVs of all identifying information, such as name (which could give clues to ethnicity), graduation year (age), school and address (socio-economic background).

Potential employers then evaluate applicants based on skills only, to avoid discarding talent for the shortlist that doesn't fit preconceived notions.

"It's important to remember that using software to anonymously screen candidates will get you only half way through the hiring process," notes Barrick, "and that those who pass should still be considered in terms of fit through other processes."


Collaborative – or team-based – hiring involves including members of the team in the interview process.

The benefits include reduction in bias (particularly if the team is diverse), higher levels of employee engagement, more diverse assessment of applicant skills and different approaches to selling the job to potential hires. 


Structured interviews – where different interviewers pose the same set of questions in the same order – allow for clearer comparison and evaluation of candidates, and questions can straddle both behavioural and functional competencies, says Barrick.

In a process like this, it's important that the interviewer scores each answer immediately after it's provided, and that candidate responses are compared horizontally (in other words, all candidate responses to each of the questions are compared). Comparative evaluations help to calibrate across candidates to reduce bias and decrease reliance on stereotypes.


Software like Textio or Gender Decoder for Job Ads helps employers to avoid bias in job advertising by avoiding coded words relating to gender, race, ethnicity, and so forth.

These products highlight words as 'negative', 'positive', 'repetitive', 'masculine' (active, adventurous, challenge) or 'feminine' (honest, cooperate, depend) and offer recommendations on how to improve job descriptions so as not to exclude a gender or ethnic group.


Developed at Harvard, the IAT uncovers thoughts that are being unconsciously hidden by testers and helps to measure attitudes and beliefs.

The purpose of the test is to make employers more aware – and to check – their biases when interviewing.

"Diversity – and ultimately, greater business success – can be achieved through a combination of hiring processes that are designed to truly uncover functional and behavioural fit," says Barrick.

"If greater diversity is one of the goals, as it should be, a good place to start the journey is by reviewing potentially outdated hiring practices."


ADvTECH Resourcing is a division of the JSE-listed ADvTECH Group, Africa's largest private education provider and a continental leader in quality education, training, skills development and staffing services.

Through its 10 recruitment brands, ADvTECH places thousands of candidates annually, maintaining its focus on niche placements in the finance, IT, engineering, HR, logistics, freight and supply chain management sectors.

Sep 14


The demand for highly qualified big data analysts is outstripping supply to the point where it can take many months to fill vacancies, according to Georgina Barrick, divisional managing director of Insource ict – a division of ADvTECH Resourcing. 

Barrick said there was a dire shortage of all specialised ICT skills.


“Highly skilled and experienced big data analysts, data science experts, data modellers, machine learning boffins as well as Artificial Intelligence professionals are becoming as hard to find “as hen’s teeth”.

“We all know that there is a dearth of skills in data analytics but there seems little that can be done about the situation in the short term because the majority of students entering universities don’t have the foundational skills in mathematics and science to enter this field.”

She said the primary reason for the shortage was that the big five banks, consulting firms and JSE listed companies were snapping them up as fast as they were graduating.

“Big data has become a panacea for many of the systemic ills that are besetting the South African economy because it is seen as a cure-all. Because – if correctly applied – big data can assist companies to maximise their resources more than any other discipline, these men and women are in huge demand not just in the business world but also in the scientific field which includes medical research and big pharma.

Click here to read the full article in Business Report.

ADvTECH is Africa's largest private higher education and private university provider, and parent company of The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest and most accredited private higher education provider. The IIE's highly respected educational brands include VegaVarsity CollegeRosebank College and The Business School at Varsity College.

Aug 22

South African photographer Phandulwazi Jikelo won the Top News category in the Russian Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest, which is organized by the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency in conjunction with UNESCO. His entry was one of 5,000 from 76 countries.

Jikelo, who’s based in Cape Town but is originally from King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape province, is not new to awards. 

While still freelancing for Independent Media titles Cape Times, Cape Argus and Weekend Argus, he was nominated for the Standard Bank Sikuvile Awards in 2013. In 2014, he won the Vodacom Regional Award. And in 2015, he won at the Standard bank Sikuvile National award in the Sport category.

He started working permanently for the Independent Media-owned daily newspaper I’solezwe LesiXhosa in 2015, and won his second Vodacom Regional award. His third Vodacom Regional Award came in 2016 under the same title.

Photography came second to journalism in Jikelo’s career choices—he applied for the former at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) after finishing high school, but couldn’t get accepted as his application was late. He then did a 2-year diploma course in media and journalism at The Independent Institute of Education's Rosebank College.

Jikelo became a photographer for the college’s magazine RoseMag. His interest for photography grew from there, and, after finishing his diploma, he applied for a photo course at CPUT, and was accepted. “All I wanted was to document the daily life in my area and the lives of those who are unfortunate, to tell my story, if I may put it so,” he says.

For the full story, and all his amazing winning pics, head on over to Okay Africa


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 CollegeVega SchoolRosebank College and The Business School, is as valuable and is recognised locally and internationally.

Jun 15

Two talented students from Vega, an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider, recently took home a D&AD Pencil Award – one of the most coveted awards in the advertising industry.

The students submitted a campaign in the ‘New Blood’ category for 2017 –  the category awards a series of world class programmes for new creatives, and aims to reach young creatives from as far and wide as possible to offer inspiration, learning and genuine breaks into a naturally competitive industry.

The creative duo – Saraah Saint (Visual Communication 3) and Jessica Hay (Creative Brand Communication 3) were briefed to collaborate on a print and digital campaign to raise awareness of the ‘Fur for Animals’ crusade, a cause which aims to bring an end to international fur trade.

“After conducting a great deal of research into anti-fur campaigns of the past, we found that the ‘blood and gore’ approach proved ineffective when it came to getting people to appreciate the message behind the campaign and take it seriously,” says Saint.

“We engaged with lecturers (known at Vega as navigators), who guided us through the technical process of executing the project and bringing our ideas to life,” added Hay.

Saint and Hay’s campaign, “Who Wore it Best?”, focused on the role that celebrities play in the fashion world by endorsing fur and encouraging its desirability as a high-end fashion item. A striking feature of the campaign is how Saint and Hay showcase the stark contrast between animal and human and illustrate this by using the reality animals to take over the fashion industry as the ones who actually wear fur the best.

The campaign included a series of magazine covers and print ads featuring side-by-side images of celebrities dressed in fur and an animal with the fur the garment was made from. The team also created a Facebook voting poll for social media users to vote to decide who wears fur better – celebs or animals – along with an online anti-fur pledge form for people to sign. Included in the social media visual content was a series of beautifully-designed “Flash Fur” fashion show posters.

“We are so grateful for this award, and there are simply no words to describe the proud looks on our parents’ faces when they found out we had won,” says the duo. “A big thank you to our incredible navigators and the Vega community at large for all your guidance and support throughout the project!”

Fiona Peake, Communications Navigator at Vega, says that the New Blood Awards are a great opportunity for Vega students to showcase their talents on an internationally-recognised platform.

“Vega is committed to giving students every chance available to gain insight and experience into the industries they contribute towards, I would like to congratulate Saraah and Jessica on this phenomenal, world-class achievement!”

Jun 02


Not in his wildest dreams had John Mashiri (23) expected to walk away with the Pencil Award​, sponsored by the Pendoring Advertising Awards​, at the graduation ceremony of The Independent Institute of Education's Vega School last month.

Being crowned the top achieving student in brand management for 2016 completely bowled him over, he says.

“To be honest, I’m still in shock that I received this award and to be featured with Pendoring,” Mashiri enthuses.

Hailing from Zimbabwe, Mashiri has always been interested in hearing and telling stories – and, likewise, does not hesitate to share a few snippets of his life- story:

“Growing up in a close-knit family, I was one of those weird kids who was always either telling stories or trying to find out the story behind everything in my life; even the cartoons (ha-ha). My love for story-telling runs in the family and from way back when, I would research the story behind the story and then tell that story.

“In high school my favourite subjects were business and maths. However, after I matriculated with very average marks, I was somewhat confused as to what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Then one of my sister’s friends suggested that I go and see what Vega is all about because she thought I would be a good fit.

“All excited, I went to one of their interviews and instantly knew that Vega was the place where I wanted to study. What clinched it for me, was the opportunity to tell the story on a topic I really enjoyed talking about. It just felt right. I believe this is the reason why I chose strategy or why strategy chose me: I want to tell the world stories, one brand at a time, which, in turn, will tell my story.”


It’s been a rewarding journey for Mashiri since he enrolled at Vega in 2012 for an IIE degree in integrated brand communications.

“When I moved on to a higher certificate in brand building practice, I managed to end up top of my class. I then continued with a degree course in brand building management where I again achieved top marks, so this has been an exciting adventure that I thoroughly enjoyed.

“I feel truly blessed, which not many people are able to say. I would like to believe that my creative heart and spirit will never die and that one day I will have my own place where I can tell the stories of the world, one brand at a time.


Mashiri’s major sources of inspiration have always been his parents.

“My father wakes up early every day and comes home at around 11 p.m. every night just so that we can have the things that he never had growing up. He does this without asking for anything in return or even expecting a thank you. My dad is also the most knowledgeable man on the planet: he can tell you everything about anything. I have been encouraging him to enter the Guinness World Book of Records for the most knowledgeable man on earth, but he seems to think it’s a bad idea,” John quips.

“My mom is also a very big inspiration in my life because she works day in and day out on numerous businesses to make sure that she can leave something behind for her kids, even though we are all grown up. She is truly the kindest, sweetest person and in my book, the biggest hustler! There is no business opportunity she has not tried to pursue and there are rarely business ideas that she fails at.”​



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 SchoolRosebank College, The Business School and Design School SA, is as valuable and is recognised locally and internationally.

May 25


In this great profile of South African entrepre​neur Richard Haubrich, ​EduConnect gets to the bottom of how he turned his passion into profit.

​Haubrich ​is a graduate of The Independent Institute of Education's Vega School in Cape Town, and has achieved incredible success with his Instagram business.

He discussed his business concept while still an Innovation and Business Management student at Vega and then decided to go for it. 

This is how he started:

"During my internship after my studies I launched a project called #HPSA (Hashtag Project South Africa). HPSA is a series featuring designated weekly themes. This inspires users to be creative. The themes change weekly, it can be anything from landscapes to food, etc. I launch these projects every Monday – without fail.

Since the start of HPSA, brands have contacted me asking if they could host a Hashtag Project on my page and they’ll sponsor the prize. I first started doing these giveaways for free, but now I make money from it.

​So far I’ve worked with various known brands, including GoPro, Nikon, iStore, Lindt Chocolate, Orms Photo Warehouse… and the list goes on."

For the full article, which is TOTALLY recommended reading, click here. ​


IIE - The Independent Institute of Education is South Africa's largest private higher education provider. 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 qualification from its outstanding and respected brands such as Varsity College, Vega, Rosebank College, The Business School and Design School SA, is as valuable and recognised locally and internationally.

May 18

The results of the thirteenth Sunday Times Generation Next Youth survey ​are out and Rosebank College, an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) has been voted the coolest college in South Africa. Varsity College, another of The IIE's awesome brands, nabbed the second place!

The annual survey, commissioned by the Sunday Times and conducted by HDI Youth Marketeers, is a measurement of youth sentiment towards brands and celebrities in South Africa. Nearly 12 000 young people aged between 8 and 23 years, across urban and peri-urban parts of South Africa, were interviewed. 

"We are humbled by the experience and the vote of confidence and we thank South African youth for this honour. We would especially like to thank our current registered students for being our ambassadors and flying the Rosebank College flag high. We look forward to educating and empowering more South African's this year and beyond," says Daphne Mphaga, Marketing Manager at Rosebank College.

The Sunday Times Generation Next Youth survey is a leading annual youth brand preference and consumer behaviour survey with two components, the first which focuses on brand preference and the second which focuses on lifestyle and consumer behaviour.

 "Education and spirituality are the big themes in this year's study," says Catherine Bothma, MD of HDI Youth Marketeers.  "Without a doubt, young people view self-enrichment as very important. Only nine years ago youth couldn't live without their cellphones and money, whereas this year, those have fallen to 4th and 5th place, making space for family, religion and education."

Asked why young people voted Rosebank College the coolest college in South Africa, Mphaga adds, "we would love to think that they know that we are passionate about empowering the youth and that we believe that education is a tool to not only work in an organisation but also to build and manage organisations for the benefit of themselves and the continent."

Staying abreast of how young people interact with and respond to brands is an ongoing process.  Intensive research process is conducted by HDI Youth Marketeers and the capturing, analysis and validation of the results are conducted by external third parties that specialize in statistical analysis and validation. Data collection took place between January and March 2017. ​


IIE - The Independent Institute of Education is South Africa's largest private higher education provider. 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 qualification from its outstanding and respected brands such as Varsity College, Vega, Rosebank College, The Business School and Design School SA, is as valuable and recognised locally and internationally.


Apr 25


Vega students flexed their mental muscles at a gruelling two-day ‘Game Jam’, which took place at the school’s Durban and Cape Town campuses.

The Game Jam saw students studying at Vega School​, an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), SA's largest private higher education institution ("private university*) coming together as teams to create a new digital game in just one weekend – a dramatically shorter time frame than game development usually takes.

The event is part of the Ludum Dare (LD) competition – an accelerated video game development event. It’s both the longest running, and the largest Online Game Jam in the world.

“A game jam is a true test of mental endurance, where students work around the clock to bring a gaming idea to life, snatching an hour or two of sleep whenever they can,” says Robert Chrich, Academic Navigator at Vega.

Students work with like-minded people as part of a team to find ways of making their game ideas come to life, while gaining practical knowledge and expertise in each other’s disciplines.

Chrich says that the Vega Game Jam not only benefits participants academically during their time as students, but will also broaden their horizons, career-wise.

“The most valuable part of participating in the Vega Game Jam is that our students spend time actively engaged in a gaming development project,” he says.

“This provides a unique opportunity to grow their skill sets, build up a strong portfolio of work that demonstrates their understanding of game development to prospective employers, giving them a better chance of cracking it in the industry.”

Vega provides a variety of The IIE design, development, and creative qualifications tailored to meet gaming industry standards, and its participation in the LD Game Jam is another step towards establishing it as the tertiary institution of choice for young people hoping to pursue careers in the gaming industry.

“This is Vega’s first Game Jam, and we plan to host three of these events each year, with the intention of building them into the curriculum for all students,” says Chrich.

The Vega Game Jam is open to all Vega students in any discipline, and of any skill level. Students are encouraged to sign up as teams, but individuals can also sign up by themselves and will be allocated. 

Read the article on Digital Street.​


IIE - The Independent Institute of Education is South Africa's largest private higher education provider. 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 qualification from its outstanding and respected brands such as Varsity College, Vega, Rosebank College, The Business School and Design School SA, is as valuable and recognised locally and internationally.


Apr 21


Recent incidents have highlighted the need for all companies and organisations to review the safety and security of their data and their IT systems, as standard approaches no longer protect against myriad vulnerabilities, an expert says.

"Even the highest judicial office in the land, that of Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogeng, is not immune. Regardless of the source of the attack, about which there is much speculation, the fact remains that the office, which has security and cameras on the premises, suffered a major setback recently when several computers - containing highly sensitive information - were stolen," notes Wonga Ntshinga, Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider.

Ntshinga says many companies and organisations may be under the impression that their data and systems are adequately secured, when in fact that is not the case at all. It is therefore important for business leaders to take some time to ensure that arguably their most important non-human assets and resources are effectively protected against a range of potential attacks – both internal and external.

"The challenge is that it is very difficult to quantify the value of assets when we consider reputational loss and other intangibles, much less predict the rate of occurrence without large volumes of historical data. Besides the obvious steps, such as getting a comprehensive inventory of all network devices and software, leaders should also ensure that critical security controls are in place to protect sensitive data, and make provision for scenarios in which the security control itself is compromised," says Ntshinga.

He says it is crucial that sensitive information is protected at three stages: 1) at rest (data needs to be protected whilst being stored on the storage device), in transit (data needs to be protected as it is being transported) and in process (when the data is being processed).

Ntshinga says that in order to ensure a comprehensive protection strategy, companies must consider incorporating the following approaches to safeguard intellectual property:

  • Vulnerability Management

This service is intended to perform live monitoring of the environment for emerging vulnerabilities and also to execute regular in-depth assessments to identify new weaknesses, for instance insufficient or weak security controls. ​

  • Access Control

    Complex access control is needed to enforce separation of duties through assigned access authorisations. The principle of separation of duties is intended to minimise errors and make it more difficult to exploit access privileges for personal gain. This can even go into the level of whether a specific user has updated access to a particular file while executing a specific programme from a workstation at a specific network address.
  • Information Security Policy

    Policies are essential as they set the foundation and tone for a security programme. Documents such as the Information Security Policy or an associated standard needs to be set in order to better understand the real exposure and the real problem – i.e. what is or could become the root cause for attacks?

  • Acceptable Risk

    Risk can be defined as the expected loss of confidentiality, integrity, availability, or accountability. You need to understand that not all risks are the same, hence it is important to evaluate them so as to decide which to prioritise. Look at your organisation through the lens of "acceptable risk" and continuously measure the efficiency and effectiveness of your security programme, which is comprised of the following building blocks: policies, standards, guidelines, procedures and baseline.

  • Risk-Based Model

     Risk-based models provide direction for focusing on most critical exposures and also prioritising risk mitigation. If you don't already have a risk model, immediately adopt a simple qualitative risk model and start prioritising your risk activities (Low, Moderate, High). Set up an organisational risk committee to assess risks across the entire organisation. The committee must look into deviations of any security risk management programmes that have been implemented and, if needs be, propose some corrective measures to address the deviations.

"Risk management can be an overwhelming task if tackled using only one methodology and ideally requires a strategy which addresses the entire scope of risks within an organisation," says Ntshinga.

"Additionally, critical security controls can be costly and therefore they require funding through annual security operating budgets. Ultimately, the security professionals need to understand what each service provider does in order to mitigate the risks, and data security should not be approached in checklist fashion."

Ntshinga says while it is unfortunate that not every risk can be pre-empted and disarmed, attempts to holistically tighten controls can unravel some of the risks that organisations face.

"Most importantly, senior leaders of organisations – whether public or private – must take ownership of security, even (or perhaps especially) where there is a perception that adequate protections are in place.

"They must ensure that they thoroughly identify and analyse potential risk, and then put in place adequate mitigation. Additionally, it is important to be well versed on the current legal environment in order to minimise an organisation's liability and reduce risks from electronic and physical threats, including losses from legal actions."


The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) is a division of the JSE-listed ADvTECH​, Africa's largest private education group. The IIE is the leading private higher education provider 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, Design School Southern Africa (DSSA) 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.


Mar 17


​We've written before about the amazing story​ of The Independent Institute of Education's rockstar Vega​ graduate, Jacques de Bruyn, who went from super down and out to MD of his own highly successful digital agency, Flume​.


​He just keeps rocking the world of work, and is now sharing his valuable insights and experience to help other entrepreneurs.

Here, he talks about how to sell yourself and not just your services - really useful for those starting out in their own business, but also for people trying to stand out in their careers:

As a business owner your natural instinct will be to market your business, your brand. You’ll pour your heart and soul into it and make sure that it’s all about the baby that you’re “building”.

As an entrepreneur you’ll find that you’re so busy working on your business that you often lose sight of the the fact that clients gravitate toward people as well.

In the early stages of your business’ life it won’t necessarily have the credibility on its own to win over business automatically.​​

That’s where you, the entrepreneur, steps in in your personal capacity.​

Read the full article with some brilliant advice in Entrepreneurmag

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