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Preparation

Dec 11
USE THE HOLIDAYS TO KICKSTART YOUR 2019 CAREER CHANGE PLANS


The coming weeks of relative workplace quiet provide the perfect opportunity for those considering a career change to put their plan into action, before the frenzy of back-to-work in January derails their big picture plans, an expert says.

"If you've been thinking about making a change, but never seem able to act on it because of the demands of daily life, now is your chance to lay down the building blocks from which you can propel yourself towards your goal next year," says Dr Gillian Mooney, Dean: Academic Development and Support at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education institution.

"Few of us can afford to make a clean break at work and then start on a new path from scratch. So what you need to do is to use your downtime effectively to start working towards your goal," she says.

Mooney says the first step for those wanting to go in a new direction, is to determine what that direction is.

"And that is easier said than done. Many people know that they are not in the right field or in the right position, but feel stuck because they really don't know what to do instead. If that is the position in which you find yourself, the holidays provide a great chance to start researching potential new fields of interest, without the pressure of having to commit.

"Use this time to dream freely. Look at advertised positions online, and find those that excite you. Then look at the job requirements. Would you need to qualify in a new field? Would you be able to match your transferable skills to those required in the position, and then perhaps just supplement your existing qualifications with a short or part-time course? Determine how you can leverage your existing experience and qualifications while working towards your new goal."

Mooney adds that the research part of the strategy is crucial, because many people who have been in the workplace for a year or five may not be aware of the numerous new and exciting fields of study that are constantly emerging.

"In addition to checking what is currently in demand in the job market, you should also investigate courses and qualifications on offer at good higher education institutions. Particularly in the private sector, where there is more agility and responsiveness to what is in demand in the workplace, you will find fresh new fields and qualifications that may not even have existed when you achieved your first qualification," she says.

Young people in their mid-to-late twenties, who have been working for a few years after graduation, are often disappointed and disillusioned – even despondent – about their futures, notes Mooney.

"If you look around you and think 'is this really it?' then you need to know that the answer is an emphatic no. You are not married forever to your initial choice of qualification which you pursued after Matric. Things change. You have changed. And there are always means and ways to find a career that really excites you."

There is also evidence that it is becoming more common to change careers. The idea that we educate ourselves into one career for life is no longer the norm today. This is typically ascribed to the impact of technology on jobs and the workforce, and millennial thinking, Mooney says.

"You don't have to live the rest of your life wondering how things would have turned out if you pursued a different field. Building a career that you love takes time, perseverance, and constant strategising until you find the right fit."

It might also be helpful to find outside assistance to determine the way forward.

"Any higher education institution worth its salt should have graduate assistance available to guide you in terms of suitable qualifications to supplement your existing ones, to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be a year or two down the line.

"So don't just lounge around this December, but rather start taking small, low-stake actions which will get you going in the direction of your dream. Commit to ending the year with a clear understanding of which new skill or competency interests you, so that you already have a headstart on your new path when you see in the new year."


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 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.

 


Nov 23
STUDY CHOICES TODAY VS STUDY CHOICES OF THE PAST - CHOOSE WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU, NOW


Many Matrics considering their study options for next year are finding themselves in the difficult position of being at odds with their parents or guardians about their preferred direction. While this conundrum has always been around, it is even more pronounced today, given that there are a myriad qualifications and careers that didn't exist even a few years ago.

"Parents often have expectations of the potential careers they see their children pursuing, and it can be hard for them and their children to get on the same page when the parents are in favour of the more traditional qualifications, while the child would prefer to pursue a qualification the parents don't know much about," says Nola Payne, Head of Faculty: Information and Communications Technology at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education institution.

 She says it is important for families to have a respectful dialogue based on facts and research when they find themselves in this position.

 "If you are the young adult who would like to pursue a career in, for instance, digital marketing or game design and development, but your parents would rather you do a BCom at a public university, there are ways to get them to see your side of things," she says.

"And if you are the concerned parent, worried that your child's preferred qualification is lightyears away from what you think they should be doing, there are also a few ways you can set your mind at ease," says Payne.

She says it can be helpful for parents and future students finding themselves at loggerheads to approach the situation as follows:

DO THE RESEARCH AND UNDERSTAND THE OPTIONS

There are many more study options today than in the past. The range of qualifications on offer has grown exponentially, while the institutions offering them have also multiplied. All registered and accredited higher education institutions – whether they be public universities or private – are registered by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).   They are only registered if they have been accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).  

Looking up a qualification on the NQF is as easy as going to the SAQA website and typing in a few words.  An institution should also be able to give you the SAQA identity number immediately. This means that prospective students and their parents can be confident about the bona fides of any qualification they want to pursue, provided that the institution is recognised by DHET and the programme is listed on the NQF which can be found on the SAQA website.

FACE REALITY

The world of work looks a lot different today than it did a decade ago, with numerous new and emerging careers on offer, such as brand management, big data analysis, app development, and digital design, to name a few. The traditional, generic 3-year degree is no longer a golden ticket to landing a job. 

Prospective students would do well to pursue a career-focused qualification which fits well with their talents and interests, and which will prepare them to step into the workplace with confidence. Career-focused qualifications will often also include work-integrated learning, which allows students to build a portfolio of work throughout their time at varsity. This puts them in a much stronger position after graduation when applying for a position.

UNDERSTAND THE MARKETPLACE

What can you do with your qualification after graduation? That is an important question to ask before committing to a programme. A great way to determine the demand for a qualification and your future earning potential, is to look at career sites and job ads, to see how much demand there is in marketplace. Speaking to an advisor at a higher education institution's career centre can also go a long way to clarifying your prospects post-graduation.

UNDERSTAND THE MOTIVATION FOR STUDYING

Pursuing a degree requires a substantial investment of time and money. And handling the demands of higher education and young adulthood is not a walk in the park. The dropout rate among first years is very high, in part because the reason for heading to university wasn't sound. 

So if the motivation for further study is for the sake of status rather than to lay the foundations for a specific and successful career, or if a student is only studying to fulfil the wishes of their parents, it would be better to wait, investigate all the options, and only apply when they have found something that gets them really excited about your future.

"Parents need to understand that the best approach now is to study and prepare for a world that's changing, and that the traditional way and 'safe' careers may not be the best course of action," says Payne.

"And prospective students need to understand that while the difference in opinion may be frustrating, it is up to them to present their case calmly, clearly and respectfully, with the research to back up the viability and prospects of their choice."

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 CollegeVarsity CollegeThe 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.



Nov 20
GRADE 11s - DO THIS BEFORE YOU LET YOUR HAIR DOWN THIS DECEMBER


Grade 11 learners could be tempted to make relaxing their only priority before the whirlwind year that is Matric. However now is precisely the time they should be investigating and even pinning down their further study plans, an education expert says.


"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:

  1. How do your class sizes in this particular programme compare to other institutions or universities? (Keep in mind that the institution may not have in-depth information about the class sizes at other institutions, but you want to hear about this particular institution).
     
  2. How is classroom contact time and self-directed study balanced? (Self-directed study is an integral part of higher education and therefore as important as classroom contact).

  3. How is technology supporting the learning experience of students at this institution? (Merely having a data projector in classrooms or lecturers making presentations available electronically is not the response you are looking for).

  4. How important is employability of students after studying at your institution? (You want to listen out for responses that relate to industry ties, industry input into curricula, work readiness programmes, career centres, as well as the lecturing staff's industry experience and relationships with industry). 
     
  5. If I get stuck with an assignment or project, which resources and courses of action are available to me? (Only talking to your lecturer is not an ideal response. You want to listen for reference to, for example, library support and resources, writing centers and other forms of student support).

  6. Even if not applicable to you, it may also be a good idea to ask about the institution's policy and support for students with special needs, for example needing extra time in assessments. (If they stumble in answering this question, it may be an indication that they are not really focused on this aspect of student support, which may be a sign about their overall student centeredness).


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 CollegeVarsity CollegeThe 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.


Oct 31
MATRICS: FOCUS TO THE END AND MAKE EVERY MARK COUNT


As the Matrics settle into the rhythm of their final exams, an education expert has warned them not to become complacent thinking the 'worst' is behind them, but instead to knuckle down and give it their best sustained effort right until the end.

"It's all about strategy, and fighting for every last mark you are able to score in your remaining papers," says Nola Payne, Head of Faculty: Information and Communications Technology at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education institution.

"Consistency is key right now, and you will thank your future self for not getting distracted by the light at the end of the tunnel, but rather approaching each paper as a new opportunity to take your grades from good to spectacular," says Payne.

She says the reason for not relaxing now, with mostly the "easier" subjects remaining, is because small aggregate differences, whether in a specific subject or overall results, can significantly influence options after school.

"There are so many more study options available to today's young people, both in terms of higher education institutions and qualifications, that they are really able to pick a closer match to their vision for their lives and careers than before. However greater options don't mean less competition for limited spaces, particularly in very popular new programmes such as Gaming, for instance, so every mark counts when institutions assess applications," she says.

Payne says learners should approach their remaining papers with a clear head:

DON'T PANIC

"If you didn't do as well as planned on subjects you've already written, you have to let it go," she says.

"There is nothing you can do about those papers now. However by doubling your efforts for remaining papers, you can potentially make up points that will improve your overall marks. There may also be the option of rewriting a paper, so focus on what you can still change, rather than dwell on that which is behind you."

DON'T REST ON YOUR LAURELS

"If you did better than you expected in the papers already written, good for you! However don't be tempted to slack now because the going is great. Gaining better marks than expected may open up a world of new opportunities that you were not even aware of, so make this final push count.

"You also don't want to ruin your great performance to date by doing worse than you were counting on in upcoming papers, thereby negating the earlier advantage gained."

COMBAT FATIGUE

Matric finals are a marathon, not a race, notes Payne.

"It is normal to start feeling fatigued as the end nears, but don't let that derail you. Ensure that  you get enough fresh air and exercise, and take short breaks to give your brain a complete rest. TV and social media can cause information overload, so limit your screen time apart from where you are using it to study. Focus on ticking off one subject at a time, and don't allow yourself to feel overwhelmed by looking at the whole list of papers you still need to complete," she says.

DON'T LOSE SIGHT OF THE BIG PICTURE

For some learners, things may at this stage have started to go seriously pear-shaped. Those who feel that they are facing a looming disaster should refrain from looking for solutions that will make things worse, such as considering cheating, for instance.

"Looking for the wrong kind of solutions now may be tempting, but may have far-reaching and even unfixable consequences on your life," says Payne.

"If things really are not going well, keep in mind that you do still have enough time to make up points in remaining subjects. Again, fighting for every mark now may mean that you have more options to rectify things after the exams, for instance by doing a rewrite or re-doing only one subject instead of the whole year.

"Yes, Matric marks are very important, but at the end of the day there are always options even if you didn't perform as you would have hoped, so don't resort to solutions which are bound to throw further problems your way."

Parents and guardians have an important role to play in coming weeks, to help learners stay motivated, says Payne.

"Help them visualise their goal for next year, help them re-arrange their study roster if necessary, and make sure that they stay positive and focused to perform at their very best right until the end," she says.

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 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.


 


Oct 09
MATRICS: HOW TO OPTIMALLY MANAGE YOUR TIME & LIFE DURING FINAL EXAM SEASON


With Matric finals loading and learners heading to exam venues in a matter of days, the bulk of reviewing should now be over, and the limited time available before and during the exams should be strategically managed, an education expert says.

"The upcoming exams represent the culmination of 12 years of hard work, and will play an important part in determining what options are open to you after school," says Wonga Ntshinga, Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education institution.

"But even though the final exams are an undeniably important milestone, learners shouldn't become overwhelmed in the face of what lies ahead, and instead enter this period with a holistic strategy to perform at their best. Essentially, now is the time to draw up your roadmap for the challenging few weeks that lie ahead," he says.

Planning and reviewing should now move from the general to the specific by doing the following:

GET ORGANISED

Just before you enter the exam period is a good time to review your study schedule. What work do you still need to cover, and how much time will you have between papers? Draw up a new roster taking into account the realities of the next few weeks and ensure you stick to it.

Create a neat working environment and a clear plan for what you need to do and study every day, and ensure that you have all the necessary materials sorted and on hand.

NARROW DOWN YOUR REVIEWING

Once you enter the exam period, you should have adequately covered all your materials. With little time available between papers, you must now focus your attention on the sections of work that are almost certainly going to be tested and master them, rather than trying to re-read all your textbooks in their entirety.

BREATHE, AND GET YOUR HEAD IN THE RIGHT SPACE

Your biggest weapon right now is the ability to remain calm and perform under pressure. Download one of the many mindfulness apps available online (Headspace is a good one), and invest 5-10 minutes in calming down your nerves before you step into the exam room. Managing your anxiety ahead of each paper will go a long way towards helping you avoid mind blanks during the exam.

STAY HEALTHY

Don't start stress-eating or staying up into the early morning hours before an exam to cram. No matter how hard you worked, if your body and mind are tired and worn out, you won't be able to accurately reflect your effort in your papers.

Take regular scheduled breaks, get plenty of water, exercise and sleep, and ensure you eat as healthy as possible.

DON'T STRESS ABOUT PAPERS ALREADY WRITTEN, BUT DON'T RELAX TOO SOON EITHER

As the exam progresses and the list of subjects you still need to write become shorter and shorter, don't start relaxing too soon. Keeping the focus right until the end and working for each mark can mean the difference between being accepted into the institution and course of your choice, or having to look at other options.

On the other hand, if things didn't go well in one subject, let it go and focus on what lies ahead. Stop stressing about the subjects you've already written, because there is nothing more you can do about those results. You can, however, still make up for a disappointment by focusing and performing as well as possible in upcoming papers.

DEFER YOUR CONCERNS, BUT KEEP THE END GOAL IN MIND

What if I don't pass as well as I need to? Have I left applying to uni too late? Don't let questions such as these take up mental energy during the exams. Instead, keep a laser focus on the task at hand – doing as well as possible on each paper, and earning every point you possibly can.

It is helpful to continually visualise your plans for next year, and match that dream with the performance you need to get there. But don't let these motivational thoughts turn negative. After the exams, you still have time to investigate all your study options, and to match your interests and performance to the amazing higher education paths available.

"It is worth taking stock now of where you are, determining what still need to be done, and getting to a space where you are able to stay strong, motivated and effective right until the end of the exams," says Ntshinga.

"Matric learners have a challenging yet exciting few weeks ahead of them, and going into it with the right frame of mind and a clear-cut strategy can mean the difference between and average performance and an exceptional one."

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 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.

 

 


Oct 04
TOP IT JOBS OF THE FUTURE THAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER NOW


With rapidly advancing technology, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, several IT jobs will grow in popularity in the not so distant future, creating huge demand for skilled professionals.

The demand for tech graduates continues to grow and there are several roles which will continue to attract growth. An array of tech and business skills will be required for nearly every position.

So what are the some of the top IT jobs that will be in high demand?

Computer vision engineer

Computer vision engineers build and improve computer vision and machine learning algorithms and analytics to detect, classify and track objects. With the advent of self-driving cars there's a huge amount of growth that is expected in this profession.

Machine learning engineer

This sophisticated professional is an advanced programmer who develops Artificial intelligence (AI) machines and systems that can learn and apply knowledge, performing advanced programming and algorithms to train these systems. AI will become a big investment area for tech departments of the future.

App developer

App developers will be in high demand. The developer will be someone who creates technological solutions for business problems.

Cloud engineer

As companies move important systems to the cloud, more and more are choosing a hybrid approach, with multiple vendors.

Alternative energy technician

With climate change threatening to damage the world, it will become more important to move to clean energy sources. Solar and wind energy for example will become part of the future.

FOR THE FULL LIST OF TOP IT JOBS, VISIT ROSEBANK COLLEGE.


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 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.



Sep 17
PUBLIC UNIVERSITY OR PRIVATE? HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT INSTITUTION FOR YOU.


There have been many developments in the higher education sector in past decades, notably a rise in the number of institutions from which prospective students can choose when considering their further education. Along with the increase in public universities, there has also been substantial growth in the private higher education sector.

Faced with this increase in choice, it is natural for young people to be anxious about their decision – should I go to a public university, or should I opt for a private higher education institution? A massive part of this concern, is whether the qualification you receive after 3 or 4 years of study, will be respected in the world of work, whether it will position you well to land your first job, and whether it will help you build the career of your dreams.

"It is so important that future students don't base their decision on their gut feel or vague perceptions," says Dr Felicity Coughlan, Director of The Independent Institute of Education and Group Academic Director at ADvTECH, Africa's largest private education provider.

She says there is a concrete checklist that prospective students should measure their chosen institution against and, if all the boxes are checked, they can rest assured that their choice of institution can help them achieve their dreams.

"Ultimately, you have to make an informed choice based on your personal vision and circumstances, and you should not blindly follow a direction just because everyone else is going that route, or because you think that's the way to go," Coughlan says.

She advises prospective students, and their parents or guardians, to look at the following when considering or reviewing higher education institutions:

ACCREDITATION

Most importantly, your institution must be registered and accredited. South Africa has a single quality assurance system and one National Qualifications Framework, which means that any institution offering a registered and accredited qualification – whether public university or private – is offering a qualification of equal standing. So if your institution is listed on the Department of Higher Education and Training's list* of registered higher education institutions and colleges, you don't need to be concerned about whether the institution is called a university, a college, or a private higher education institution.

This is because the only difference between public (University) institutions and private higher education institutions – which purely as a result of regulations may not refer to themselves as private universities - is that the public institutions get some subsidy from the government while the private institutions don't.

EMPLOYER RECOGNITION

The world of work has changed dramatically over the past decade, and the economic climate is tough. That means prospective students should make sure that their qualification and their choice of institution is well respected by employers and in the market. Generic 3-year degrees with no practical experience do not provide a strong competitive advantage after graduation.

This means that young people should interrogate their institution about the following: curriculum, industry relationships, lecturer activity in the industry, and practical experience that form part of the studies.

The strongest qualifications today are the ones that are closely linked to specific careers and fields, and whose curricula are based on the competencies required to be work-ready from day one.

One way of determining industry recognition of your institution, is to ask about its career fairs, when the country's top companies visit campuses to meet students. If employers are lining up to meet the leaders of tomorrow at your institution, you can be assured that you are signing up for a quality education that is respected in the workplace.

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION

Many students want to know that their qualifications will be internationally recognised. If this is important for you, you should ask your institution about international links and accreditation. Does your institution have links with international exchange programmes, or is it accredited by an independent international accreditation council? All good institutions should be able to provide satisfactory answers to your questions about your potential international opportunities.

CLASS SIZES & STUDENT SUPPORT

Class sizes and student support are crucial for ensuring student success and successful transition into the world of work. Individual attention, and being more than a number, can dramatically influence student outcomes. But an institution's involvement should go further than quality lectures and success at exam time. Good institutions will have career centres which assist students and alumni beyond academics.

"The higher education landscape looks entirely different today from the way things were even a decade ago. These days, prospective students have a lot more choice in terms of institution and qualification," says Coughlan.

"To really make the right choice in terms of the best grounding for your career dreams, you have to look beyond historical perceptions and gut feelings about which way is 'the best' way, and make sure your choice is based on the facts about what makes one institution and qualification stand out from the next one," she says.

*www.dhet.gov.za/SitePages/DocRegisters.aspx

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 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.


 


Aug 24
LAST-MINUTE MATRIC STUDY TIPS (THAT DON'T INCLUDE CRAMMING)


With Matric mock exams looming large, an expert says there are a few ways to optimise limited study time during exams without resorting to cramming.

"While cramming may seem the most natural thing to do between papers, it is actually counter-productive and likely to increase anxiety and fatigue," says Nola Payne, Head of Faculty: Information and Communications Technology at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education institution.*

She says there are creative – and entertaining - ways in which learners can utilise their time between papers, which will also ensure they maintain a good work-life balance during this taxing time.

"The most important thing to do just before the exams, is to take stock of where you are at, and then draw up a detailed roster for the next few weeks, which clearly shows how much time you have available between subjects. Then you need to decide how you are best going to use that time to ensure your preparation goes beyond reading textbooks over and over again."

Payne says there are 3 great ways to study while exams are in full swing, which go beyond repetitive and rote learning.

GET SOCIAL

"By getting social, we don't mean diving into facebook or Instagram," she says.

Instead, learners should form study groups for individual subjects, which will allow them to take their understanding beyond the books.

"Set up a WhatsApp challenge with your friends, where you can send each other questions about a subject. This facilitates valuable discussions, deepening insight and highlighting areas you may have missed. Keep it fun but focused, and see if you can 'trip up' your friends with your questions. While it might not be so much fun finding out that there is something your friends know that you don't, this method helps you identify areas need work before it is too late." 

GET ACTIVE

It is very important to exercise during exams, to give your body and mind a break. If you share a study timetable with your friends, you can optimise your time by, for instance, going for a run together during which time you can talk over upcoming papers, points you don't understand, and questions you believe are likely to arise.

"It is important that you and your friends synchronise your timetables, so that your breaks coincide for the most part. By ensuring your downtime is scheduled at the same time as theirs, you avoid a situation where you want to have a chat when they are focused on their work and vice versa," says Payne.

She adds that, by having the same breaks, learners can also act as a conscience for each other to check that everyone is working when they should be, as having to account to them may give one that extra bit of motivation to keep going.

"Then, when taking breaks together, you can talk over issues in a low-pressure environment such as while exercising. Your friends may have valuable insights and support to provide, just as you may be able to help them with your own unique insights. 

"Getting active together while not losing focus of the task at hand means you benefit from the feel-good chemicals released in your brain as a result of exercising and socialising, while at the same time increasing your depth of understanding of a subject," says Payne.

GET WRITING

One of the best ways to cement your preparation with limited time on hand, is to write past exam papers, Payne says.

"Get your friends together and hold a mock exam, imitating the exam conditions with set times and no peeking in textbooks. Afterwards, switch papers with each person marking another's paper. This approach has the dual benefit of making you more comfortable with exam conditions, while also solidifying your knowledge in a low-pressure environment."

"It is very important to spread your time between all your subjects, and to not go down the rabbit hole of getting lost in only one subject, for instance Mathematics," says Payne. 

"At this stage of the game, balance is key, and goes a long way towards countering the negative impact of stress and anxiety.

"If you are serious about achieving the best marks to enable you access to the post-school opportunities you desire, introducing creative study methods such as the above will go a long way toward not only improving your performance, but also to cultivate a love of learning for its own sake, which is vitally important in a rapidly changing world of work," says Payne.

* 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 CollegeVarsity CollegeThe 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.



Aug 08
TOP STUDY HACKS FROM THE EXPERTS AT THE IIE'S VARSITY COLLEGE



BA DegreeExams and tests can be very stressful, even more so if you’re unprepared.But these top study tips from The Independent Institute of Education's Varsity College are bound to make learning easier and more effective. 

Read your notes out loud

If you’re studying in a private area like your room, then this is a great way to retain more information and quicker. You are more likely to remember something faster if you read it out loud to yourself instead of reading it silently over and over again. Be considerate though. Do not try this in a library or while you’re sitting in class.

Treat yourself while you study

Studying is easier when you reward yourself for covering entire sections or reaching goals you’ve set for yourself. There are so many ways to do this, so incentivise yourself with things you enjoy. If you have a sweet tooth then you could treat yourself with a gummy bear for each section you cover. Music lovers could treat themselves to a song after each learning unit or chapter. These small victories will make studying for a test a bigger achievement. You’ll find it easier to remember theory based on your rewards. It is also a good way of boosting your morale during stressful times.

Diagrams, acronyms and visual associations

Taking what you’ve learned and turning it into a diagram or making some sort of rhyme or acronym around it will make it easy to recall when you need to. What you choose to do, depends on what works for you. If you’re more of a visual person, then diagrams and mind maps will be better. Whether it’s an actual drawing or something you’ve made up in your head, this is a handy study hack that can help you remember all those facts.

Times New Roman is the best study font

If you’re typing out your study notes then use Times New Roman. The font’s size and easy to read letters make it an ideal font for learning and note taking purposes. You can also space out your notes into smaller paragraphs. This will make them easier to read, digest and remember. A page filled with text and no breaks is more daunting than multiple pages with some big gaps.

Test yourself with flash cards

Flash cards are useful when testing your understanding and memory of quotes, definitions and key concepts. The key to making good flash cards is keeping them short. A key card should only have one word, anything longer can be confusing and hard to remember.

Take study breaks

When you’ve been studying for a long time your brain needs a short break every now and then to absorb the information. The Pomodoro technique suggests that you should take a 5-minute break after a 30 minute study session. This gives you time to unwind and process what you’ve learned. It will also help keep you refreshed by distancing yourself from your work and then returning with a clear mind. Plan your study schedule according to this rule to make the most of your time.

Meditation

Meditation is a study tool that helps you relax and stay calm before an exam. Meditation does more than just soothe the mind. It also helps keep your body comfortable after long hours behind your desk. Don’t let pre-exam anxiety slow you down. Give this stress relieving study hack a go.

Get a good night’s sleep before your exam

It is not a good idea to stay up all night learning before an exam. You should give yourself plenty of learning time before the exam and spend the day before revising. By getting a good rest before your exam, your brain will be able to better digest what you’ve learned. You also need to feel well rested and be at your best while writing your exams.

Take a walk before your exam

This final study hack will help you clear your mind and focus on the exam ahead. Take a 10 – 20-minute stroll to clear your mind right before your exam. By worrying or stressing yourself out, you are making it harder on yourself and will not be able to perform as well. Any light exercise will clear your mind and will help get you in the zone.

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.



Jul 31
DO YOU HAVE THESE TRAITS THAT RECRUITERS LOOK FOR IN GRADUATES?


You’re completing your degree this year and hoping to get your first position in 2019. The long road of studying is almost over! Whether you’re finishing off a Bachelor of Arts or a BCom Honours, you could soon be putting a CV together, sending it out, going for interviews and even negotiating your salary. If this seems a bit daunting it’s okay. Here are a few points on what recruiters like to see.

Communication skills

Yes, your qualification is important but being able to articulate is vital too. Recruiters looking to place graduates value the ability to communicate well. This is because effective communication means less room for confusion and conflict. It also gives management peace of mind that their newest employee will be able to share their input, contribute meaningfully to the business and voice grievances. Plus, employees who communicate are better to work with than those who keep everything in.

Problem-solving

You’ll find that many businesses are looking for candidates with strong problem-solving abilities. Why? Because hardcore and conceptual problem solving are a major currency in today’s world. Many subjects covered during the course of your degree will encourage this. If you’re able to come up with great ways to solve issues in the workplace on your own, nobody else's time or energy will be required. A post-graduate qualification like a BCom Honours will help you hone your problem-solving abilities, allowing you to add even more impressive skills to your CV.

Resilience

In an interview, it’s possible that you’ll be asked about how well you handle temporary setbacks. How would you respond to this question? While we all feel disappointed over certain things, it’s whether or not we allow them to stop us that makes all the difference. In the workplace, employers need to know that you won’t be discouraged from meeting company goals just because your first method might not have paid off. A successful career means never giving up and never giving in. This kind of determination goes a long way towards gaining the respect of management and your fellow colleagues. It’s a quality that is admired by many, so you might not want to overlook its importance.

Drive

When it comes to reaching the goals that we set for ourselves, drive is often a major factor that influences our success. So in the business world, your drive could positively affect more than just you and your performance. It’s why many companies look for graduates who display that they have a drive. How do you demonstrate yours? You should remember that there’s a fine line between too little and too much. Often, people tend to lose this drive as they encounter testing times of stress. This makes it important to hold on to it. As long as you have it, you’re well on your way to bigger things.

Confidence

How can you expect anybody else to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself? It’s a pretty powerful question when you consider what the right amount of confidence can do for you. Be warned though, there’s a difference between confidence and arrogance. If you appear to display the latter, you might find it a struggle to get that dream job. Confidence shows an employer that you’ve got a high sense of self-worth and as a result, will always strive to give of your best. Studies have also shown that confident people are more pleasant to be around and bring out the best in team situations. If you back yourself, the chances are that your employer will back you, too. If you’re nervous in your interview don’t worry. It shows the recruiter that you have humility and the chances are, they’ve seen many a nervous candidate.

Teamwork

Being able to cooperate is a highly employable skill. Do you work well in a team and can you relate to those who are different to you? The reality is, the working world is full of diversity. This will be no different when you enter your first job. There will be people who work differently to you and who have different opinions on certain things. They’ll also be part of your department so you’ll encounter these differences on a daily basis. An inability to tolerate others and perform as a productive member of a team could result in you being overlooked. This is one of the most important “people skills” that a graduate should have. Vital aspects of teamwork are trust and understanding. Can you trust other members of your team to perform their roles without attempting to micro-manage or tell them how it should be done? By all means, help your peers but never do so in a way that makes you appear controlling and makes them feel incompetent. It’s lonely for those who can’t work well in teams. They make fewer friends in the workplace and they’re also less likely to get promoted.

Your dream job is out there

This is the most exciting time of your life. Be aware that you might discover another passion along the way. Sometimes you find the dream job and other times, it finds you. At The Independent Institute of Education's (The IIE) Varsity College, it’s our goal to prepare graduates for whatever line of work they choose. Through our qualified lecturers with industry experience to IIE qualifications that suit the modern working world, we know that you’re going to do great things. No matter your aspirations, a Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Management makes an impressive addition to your credentials. To find out more, please visit our website here. Varsity College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE).


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