Few people enjoy getting stuck in a rut in any aspect of their life, but getting stuck in a rut at work will truly suck the life out of you. Making progress in your career is not only fulfilling and more exciting than making no impact in your work environment, but will ultimately see the benefits accrue in your personal life as well. Here’s to really pulling your weight (as opposed to throwing it around), and confidently being able to motivate why you deserve a PROMOTION, a raise, a holiday and some shares in the company you are growing
BY WONGA NTSHINGA
Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider.
HOW SHOULD EMPLOYERS WELCOME NEW GRADUATES IN THE 21st CENTURY?
Do we take the old, dry route of welcoming graduates by delivering company's history, policies, procedures and so on, or do we take a different, dynamic route that will be appealing and leave a positive impression on work-ready graduates?
Here are some of the approaches that employers can take to assist graduates in the working place:
Graduate Induction and Onboarding Sessions (GIOS) – GIOS are very helpful to someone new in an organisation as they provide insight regarding organisational knowledge which would not usually be made available on specific day to day work activities. GIOS also ensure that the culture, company business and strategy are presented and that young graduates fully understand these concepts. Induction session help graduates to understand what is expected of them and how they can be productive as quickly as possible. But above everything else GIOS should sell the business to the graduate and showcase why the company exists to achieve. At these sessions graduates start to think about how they fit in, add value and grow within the organisation.
Mentoring – Mentoring provides a solid and informed support as the graduate takes the first steps in an organisation. Also, for career development purposes a graduate needs to be assigned a senior or well-experienced employee from day one who can mentor and coach the graduate. The career mentor, who must be willing to share knowledge and motivate the graduate, must be a professional who has already walked the path the graduate will embark on. He must be willing to serve as a career advisor and internal advocate who reinforces how a mentee's job can contribute to a bigger picture and purpose in the organisation. The graduate or mentee should be positive, have passion for learning and above everything else be willing to take advice.
A proper hand-over – needs to take place when a graduate is taking over from a candidate who is leaving or have been promoted.
Business Processes and rules – The employer needs to ensure that the graduate understands the company business processes, products, systems and rules. Ensure that the graduate is trained on how to, for example, manage workflows and/or queries from customers and clients.
Health/Balance – Guide the graduates on how to manage their health and balance work.
Continous Feedback from the Graduates – It is vital for the organisation/company to assess and get feedback from the graduates about how satisfied they are, their challenges, workload/allocation, and any other comments, questions or concerns the graduates may have.
Have Short-Term Action Items and Long-Term Goals for graduates - For example, have a strategy on how you will ensure that the graduates have a great onboarding that could see them stay and grow for a long time within your organisation. Commit to an ethos of lifelong learning in the organisation, and help employees achieve further study goals or support them when they do short courses to sharpen their tools.
The costs assossiated with finding, hiring and onboarding new employees, particularly work-ready graduates can prove to be costly to any organisation, so it's important for companies to develop the best possible induction programmes and supplement these with mentoring programmes.
Companies must never assume that new employees, particularly work-ready graduates, can handle their new roles. Support, coaching and mentoring can ensure they remain involved and will realise their potential.
ABOUT THE IIE
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.
With the sea-change that has taken place in the world of work and in higher education in recent years, employers and recruiters should take the time to review their selection criteria to ensure they land the best talent for their needs, an expert says.
"Companies often have to shift through hundreds or even thousands of CVs when shortlisting candidates. But despite the fact that there are a myriad new qualifications, and significantly more higher education institutions at which these are achieved, the eyes of some hiring managers still continue to fall on those graduates who received a traditional degree from a traditional university," says Peter Kriel, General Manager at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider.
This approach however is outdated, which contributes to the high incidence where appointments are made only for companies subsequently to lament the fact that although a university graduate's qualifications looked good on paper, they were woefully unprepared for the requirements and challenges of the real world, and unable to make a contribution from as early as possible.
"Recruiters who shortlist only applicants from institutions they are deeply familiar with – or attended themselves – should not be surprised if they employ candidates not able to cope with the change that characterises the world of work of today. Automation, big data, 24/7 responsiveness to customer needs, consumer rights and social media are all things that a new employee needs to consciously deal with and subject matter knowledge is not enough to thrive," says Kriel.
"Again, employers often complain that while graduates may have the requisite academic understanding in their field, many have not been well-versed in what is required from them in terms of softer skills and work ethic, and that they lack the ability to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios.
"As a result, the same kind of graduate keeps being appointed with the same costly results – an ill fit for the company with all the resultant challenges of managing performance."
Kriel says employers should ask themselves whether they have done enough to cast the net wider, and also whether they have considered whether an institution has sufficiently prepared their graduates for the world of work. For instance, the way that students have been assessed while they studied – did it just measure content knowledge or was assessment in fact part of preparing students for the world of work?
"In large institutions, where there is no time or capacity to set assessments that challenge creative thinking, multiple choice questions form a substantial part of evaluations. In smaller institutions with more personalised interaction, it is naturally easier to ensure that there is a fundamental understanding of the subject matter, and the ability to apply knowledge creatively," he says.
The same applies to things like experiential or work integrated learning.
"The workplace of 2018, and the demands placed on employees, are vastly different to what they were as recently as five years ago. While it may be understandable that recruiters continue to assess applicants in the way it has always worked for them, it is time to change strategies as what used to work no longer does and employers themselves recognise this.
"Any company that is serious about landing the best talent needs to look outside of their known field of reference, because many of the top candidates no longer elect to study at traditional institutions, pursuing traditional qualifications. Leaving them out of the loop immediately puts a company at a disadvantage, and without the benefit of landing some of the smartest creative thinkers for their teams."
DID YOU KNOW?
As the Matric Class of 2018 settle into their final year of school and get to grips with the challenges of the year ahead, an education expert has warned that they need to start thinking about their plans for next year sooner rather than later.
"One of the most important decisions young people will ever need to take, is what they will study after school. Following closely on that one, is the decision about where to study," says Tammy Oppenheim, Head of Programme: Faculty of Humanities at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest and most accredited private higher education provider.
She says the options available in terms of institution, field and qualification today are so much wider than ever before. Despite this, prospective students often still don't investigate the full array of what is on offer, opting at the last minute for a traditional 3-year degree at a public institution.
"This is why we urge Matrics to start investigating and considering the pros and cons of various qualifications and institutions right away, so that when the time comes, they opt for the route which is most likely to see them succeed in a field which really excites them," she says.
Oppenheim says the process of narrowing down options should take into account:
1) FIELD OF STUDY
Offerings differ across and between public universities and private. Find an institution that specialises in your chosen field of work or that has a faculty or department with a significant reputation in the industry you have chosen. Studying with a niche institution if you are targeting a niche industry may be a smart way to show that you understand that industry. Do your research and ensure that you are choosing an accredited institution that has a good reputation in the field.
2) QUALIFICATIONFind the institution that offers a qualification that speaks directly to your ambitions. Qualifications are not always named after the field they are supporting, so you should look in some depth at the actual curriculum. This is easily available on most websites or from the institution.
3) AFFORDABILITYChoosing an institution because it is conveniently located and is affordable makes sense. There are costs associated with studying beyond fees, and it would not make sense to have your dream scuppered because you can't sustain the cost of a residence or transport. Be realistic about what is achievable and give yourself breathing room to focus on your studies. That said, spend some time researching bursaries and payment options and do your math – a cost-benefit analysis of your study options will also help you make peace with whatever decision you make. An oft ignored fact is the graduation rate at an institution. If most students do not graduate in minimum time (three years for degrees for instance) then lower fees are not a real saving as you might need to pay for an extra year.
Many institutions have a long heritage and history. Maybe one of your parents is an alumnus at the university you always imagined attending. But remember that while tradition is important, it is more important for your future employability to find an institution that has kept pace with the changing requirements of the working world. On the other hand, perhaps you know you need to study in a free and creative environment. To determine the best fit for you, spend some time talking to past and current students at your earmarked institutions.
5) SIZESome institutions cater to tens of thousands of students. If you are introverted, find academics to be challenging, or have become used to smaller groups in your secondary education, then you should research your study options at smaller institutions. This option may be less overwhelming with a closer ratio of lecturers to students, which will likely lead to more individual attention and guidance that may be of benefit to you.
If you are an avid athlete or have a niche hobby or interest, you may want to make sure that your studies are located in an environment that facilitates this. Just make sure that you are not basing your entire future on a sport or hobby alone. Remember that your hobbies and sporting interests can often be better met through clubs and leagues and that campus is not the only place to continue to participate.
"If you slowly start investigating your options rights away, you'll take a lot of stress off your shoulders in months to come," says Oppenheim.
"By being pro-active right off the bat, you'll be able to make an informed choice later in the year, about which qualification and which institution will best make your career dreams a reality in the shortest period of time. Before signing on the dotted line, you have to be sure that your chosen institution is credible, that your qualification prepares you for the demands of the modern world of work, and that it will support your long-term goals."
DID YOU KNOW?
The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), SA's largest and most accredited private higher education provider, recognises that one of the challenges facing the South African education system is the production of sufficient, qualified, competent teachers, who can provide quality teaching.
Teachers have the ability to shape the future of the country through their influence on young lives and while there are many challenges in the profession there is no doubt that the impact of a good teacher is one of the things that many prominent people hold responsible for their own success.
"By developing teachers equipped to deal with different cultures, the changes in the educational landscape and teaching profession, we hope to make a lasting contribution to the education sector," says Greg Fillmore Managing Director at The IIE's Rosebank College.
As from 2018, The IIE's education qualifications will be available at specific Rosebank College campuses for those interested in pursuing a career in teaching. Applications for the Bachelor of Education in Intermediate Phase Teaching and Bachelor of Education in Foundation Phase Teaching are now open, but space is limited.
Teacher development and training is key to providing the next generation of learners with a generation of teachers equipped to help them succeed.
"We recognise that the most important people in schools are the teachers. If a person has respect for others, a willingness to develop and a desire to empower youth - then the skill of teaching can be taught," says Fillmore.
The accredited IIE education degrees, offered at Rosebank College, have been designed with the teacher's development in mind, and focus on equipping our IIE graduates with the necessary skills and tools to become effective and student-centered educators.
"We teach teachers how to share knowledge in a way that allows young minds to develop their understanding of the world around them. We believe that good teachers set learning goals, enforce high standards of behaviour and manage their lesson time effectively. Not only that, they use tried-and-tested techniques to ensure engagement between student and the course material," adds Fillmore.
There is no question that education is essential to South Africa's success and our IIE qualifications will play their part in changing the trajectory of our education system for the better.
For recent graduates who have now spent a year or two in the workplace, it might feel like winter is here to stay – for the rest of their lives – as the culture shock of the working world starts to kick in. It is not uncommon for those starting to get used to the realities of adulting to feel trapped, anxious and sometimes even terrified at the prospect that their current status quo is what they can expect year in and year out until they retire, an expert says.
"We know that many millennials starting out in their first jobs often feel a sense of disillusionment, particularly where their expectations of what the working world and their job would be like doesn't match reality. Anyone who finds themselves in this position should address the situation without delay," says Nola Payne, Head of Faculty: Information and Communications Technology at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider.
"If a change of course is called for, it is better that this is done in one's twenties rather than later in life. And sometimes, even smaller changes can have a lasting, positive impact."
Payne says young graduates who are already feeling stuck at work – potentially because they think they made a wrong choice about career, or because their careers appear to be going nowhere – should determine the following:
DID YOU MAKE THE WRONG CAREER CHOICE?
If you studied law, did you do so because you imagined you would become a high-flying, court-arguing legal eagle? And now you find yourself spending your days in a small, stuffy office reading endlessly?
If you find there is a massive gap between your imagined career and the actual one, you need to determine whether the gap between the two is likely to close in future, or whether the thought of continuing in this field whatsoever is too much to bear.
Should the latter be the case, wide-skilling or re-skilling should be considered, says Payne.
"It is not unusual these days for people to change careers a few times throughout their lives, and it is possible that the first qualification can be suitably supplemented to a degree that the graduate can either move into a completely new and different field, or move into a different part of the existing career," she says.
DID YOU MAKE THE RIGHT CAREER CHOICE, BUT YOU ARE ALREADY FEELING STUCK?
If your job isn't motivating you, it is possible to re-energise and self-motivate to move on professionally on the same career path.
"It's important to remember that people spend most of their waking hours at work. Hence it is important to feel a sense of fulfilment, but that arises from your internal conversation about your work. Is it a calling, which very few people experience, or do you view your work as the vehicle that allows you to live the rest of your life? The central point is to think about the role that your job plays in your life," says Payne.
DO YOU ENJOY YOUR WORK, BUT NOT THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU (AND VICE VERSA)?
"Most careers require 'soft skills' which don't necessarily come naturally, but when cultivated help you work effectively and mostly amicably with others. The reality is that you will – no matter where you are or what you do – encounter people you don't naturally get along with. Realising this early on, and working as much on your emotional intelligence as you did on getting your qualification, can dramatically improve your prospects and job satisfaction," says Payne.
"There is no shame in saying your first choice was not the right choice, and no matter what your first qualification was, it will never be wasted."
Payne says with the end of year approaching, young workers – and anyone else feeling stuck, for that matter - should use the summer months to find where their interest and passion lies, and then implement their new course of action in the new year.
"Commit to ending the year with a clear understanding of which new skill or competency interests you. Start reading up on it, and see how you can match your current career to slowly incorporating or moving in that direction.
"Once you are clear on the field you want to pursue, you should investigate your options in terms of what courses or qualifications you can pursue in the new year. Very importantly, you should ensure that the institution of your choice offers not only theory, but that it has a strong work-integrated learning component built into the curriculum. That way, the gap between expectation and reality is diminished even before you enter the new field."
Short courses continue to gain popularity with career-minded individuals seeking to boost their prospects, as well as with those who want to study but are not able to do so full time, an education expert says.
"In our tough economic climate, employers – from small startups to major corporations – want to be sure that people are equipped to carry out the roles they need performed. Sometimes this requires a specific qualification but often, particularly after graduation or once a person is already working, a short course that is recent, relevant and specific is a far better indicator that the person has current skills than a qualification achieved years ago," says Peter Kriel, General Manager of The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest and most accredited private higher education provider.
A short course normally takes anything between 8 hours for a workshop to a few months to complete. The time varies, but what is normally needed is between 8 and 120 hours of commitment from the person - although some are considerably longer. Today, many short courses are offered online, but there remains an ongoing interest in those that are presented face-to-face in groups, as it is hard to match the interaction, collaboration and networking achieved in this way, says Kriel.
He says that in a recent review of the short courses that continue to attract enrolments on a face-to-face basis, The IIE's key providers of short courses, Vega School and The Business School at Varsity College, confirmed that most students enrolled with the aim to ensure their skills were up-to-date and immediately applicable in the workplace, as it improved their career prospects.
"There is a direct correlation between the demand for short courses and the corporate world demand on staff to quickly take up a new role or responsibility. This is where short courses come into their own, as they give ambitious people what they need when they need it and in an immediately implementable way," says Kriel.
He says the most popular short courses at the moment are:
"Short courses in business management remain very popular with those individuals who are progressing up the ladder at work and feel the need for a sound and quick exposure to key functional areas of responsibility for managers. Many may go on to do more formal education or already have a foundation that they are consolidating, but we see a strong correlation between workplace opportunities and enrolment in this short course," says Kriel.
"In a tough economic environment, many existing managers and others recognise the potential that an ability to analyse and solve marketing challenges gives to achieving strategic advantage for business and for themselves. Small business owners understand the need to market effectively, but do not always know how. Finally, those with a sales background find that a foundation in marketing is an effective way to broaden their value to employers and enhance their earnings," says Kriel.
Given the complexity of virtually all environments, project management methodology continues to gain traction as a core competency for those who want to help move a company forward effectively and efficiently. There is broad recognition these days that project management is a skillset that can be taught and, if applied well, can result in success in difficult situations.
"As a result, we are not surprised that this course, which gives core skills to those who are required to plan and complete projects in time and on budget continues to be one of the most popular," Kriel notes.
SUPPLY CHAIN & LOGISTICS MANAGEMENT
Similarly, more and more managers understand that logistics and supply chains can make or break a growing business and thus the demand for training in this core function continues to grow, Kriel says.
BRAND MANAGEMENT IN A DIGITAL WORLD
"We are equally not at all surprised", he says, "that several of our short courses that embrace technology for improved effectiveness are experiencing a surge in enrolments. These include short courses in Digital Brand Strategy, Desktop Publishing and Design, Web Design, Copywriting for Brands, Gamification in Brand Building and Strategic Brand Leadership. Companies that do not embrace these opportunities find their growth stalled and more and more people in small, medium and large businesses want the skills to manage their own brands in a digital world."
Kriel says there is no doubt that short courses are now very much focused on career progression and new skills, and that very few people have the personal resources or can get funded by their employers for 'vanity courses' just focused on personal growth. This is because of the state of the economy, but also because of the rapidly changing demands of the world of work.
"Boosting your career, or getting a foot in the door, doesn't always require full-time study over several years," says Kriel.
"Employers reward staff and seek new candidates who can demonstrate that they have achieved a solid grounding in a specific niche field, and that they are able to perform specific duties from the word go. Short courses are therefore a fantastic option for those people who need to upskill or wide-skill within a limited time, whose time for studies is limited, or who need to demonstrate that they can meet a business need right away."
*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 as valuable and is recognised locally and internationally.
It is no secret that the world of work is shifting, and that individuals need to prepare for this changing landscape if they want their skills to remain in demand. And the way to do so, is to become a SMART worker, an employment expert says.
"Within the next decade – and we are already seeing this happening to some degree – the traditional employer/employee relationship will be largely a thing of the past," 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.
She says that by 2030, historical workplace structures will overwhelmingly have been replaced by the concept of workers as consultants and their own bosses, who sell their services to client companies.
"As we move away from the idea of the employee working for one company, depending on that company for everything from their salary to the promise that they will in all likelihood be able to rely on that company for a safe and ongoing income, individuals need to understand how they can navigate the workplace market in the not-so-distant future," says Barrick.
And this is where being SMART comes in.
"SMART is an acronym for the profile of future-fit workers: Specialist, Mobile, Adaptable, Resilient and Talented. Being SMART will be the key to surviving and thriving in the new world of work," she says.
PIC: GEORGINA BARRICK
Barrick says the driving forces behind the changing work environment include rapid and ongoing technological innovation, which is responsible for the disruption of historic industries and old economic systems. This gives rise to new industries and jobs, but also means that an estimated 50% of all jobs currently in existence – including white collar roles – will become automated.
"Already, we are seeing evidence of so-called creative destruction in rising global unemployment, declining average length of service, increasing mid-career transitions and disruption across all industries," says Barrick.
"Over the next five years, the World Economic Forum estimates that we'll see the decline of job families like Office, Administration, Manufacturing and Production. Conversely, there should be a rise in the importance of Business and Financial Operations, Information Technology, Mathematical, Architectural and Engineering roles.
"While these are certainly scary times, they are also exciting, as we enter an age where the goal of a bigger return for less work may be achieved, but only if you have the right skills and are able to adapt to a rapidly changing work environment."
Barrick says global research have identified 4 major trends that will impact the world of work over the next 15 years:
"Globally, we are seeing a continuation of the growing trend towards short term work.
According to the International Labour Organisation's 'The Changing Nature of Jobs', 75% of the global workforce is currently employed on temporary or short-term contracts.
It is believed that by 2030, workers will work 'with', not 'for', companies and will work with multiple 'clients' simultaneously, joining skills guilds, rather than becoming employees.
The focus will be on knowledge workers, who can do their jobs anywhere and at any time.
This idea of workers as entrepreneurs will promote flexibility and autonomy – and will benefit high-skill workers."
2. LIFELONG LEARNINGAlready, the idea that you study and then use what you've learned to follow a career at one company throughout your life has become obsolete, notes Barrick. "Lifelong learning, where workers constantly reskill or renew skills every 5 years, is becoming the norm," she says.
3. QUALITY VS QUANTITY"The emphasis is shifting away from chasing money at all costs to a focus on critical values, like work/life balance, happiness and fulfilment," says Barrick."In future, there will increasingly be a shift away from the culture of 'overwork' towards a system where work is enmeshed in life – and reward is based on expertise and results, and not on job title or length of service."
4. TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONTechnology already enables remote work and, as fibre becomes the norm in South Africa, internet speed is no longer the inhibitor it was 10 years ago. "Over the next 15 years, it's predicted that rapid technological innovation will promote 24/7 work performed by employees in different geographic locations and time zones. The traditional notion of a 'corner office' as we know it today will become obsolete as workers work remotely, hot desk and collaborate in ways we can't yet imagine."
"Ultimately what all of this means, is that individuals need to become more adaptable, and be able to manage their careers with greater resilience and flexibility," says Barrick.
"They also need to become adept at building their personal brands and selling themselves on a fluid job market. Reputation management, customer relations and negotiation will be key to the worker of the future. Additionally, they need to take responsibility for lifelong learning and regular upskilling, with a good dash of entrepreneurship thrown in."
Employers of the future also need to adapt, she warns.
"They will need to be able to manage complexity and ambiguity effectively, and quickly and efficiently identify skills gaps and tap into the freelance market. Additionally, employers should already start investigating how they can develop collaborative, global, and virtual working environments in order to attract the best talent."
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.
My duties are, in addition to other ad hoc duties, ensuring that the debtors cashbooks balance as well as keeping track of Suppliers' BBBEE scores. I also ensure that suppliers register on the Bidvest Paperplus website and I handle the distribution of salary slips.
Why did you choose the qualification you studied?
I have always had a love for numbers and solving issues. My love for finance and accounting was inspired by my mom, who also works in finance. Additionally I always wanted to stamp papers… it looked like a fun job when I was younger.
Is your qualification relevant to your job? If so, did your studies adequately prepare you for your job?
Yes, my qualification is relevant. During my studies, we had to show manual calculations. At first I thought it was unnecessary as in the working world we would have accounting programmes to do everything for us, however one needs to be able to calculate manually as well as it helps when trying to justify a payment or finding errors in reports or cashbooks.
In terms of the course outline, part of my course was Enterprise Risk Management (ENRM). After failing the module once, I was determined to pass the module with a mark higher than 65% and not have to see the subject again. However on my second day at Bidvest data, I was asked to be part of a project entailing many aspects and topics we covered in ENRM. I really thought I could kick myself. But it shows that the course outline was specifically designed to help finance graduates excel at any hurdle thrown at us and we would know exactly what to do.
What are your future career plans?
I can honestly say that I can see myself working my way up the corporate ladder within Bidvest Data. It is a company I can see myself growing in and excelling at what I do best.
How has the Career Centre assisted you while you were at Varsity College and / or as a graduate?
The Career Centre helped me obtain this position. The Career Centre Coordinator constantly encouraged me to apply for the position because she thought I was extremely suitable. I thought it was a long shot, but in the end, the job was mine and I definitely do not regret the decision.
What advice could you give to other students who are looking for or about to embark on their first job?
Do not think that any job is above you, trust your instinct and apply for any job you can. Even if the job requires graduates or final year students with a few years' management experience, those are the jobs that you need to apply for, as they offer the potential to grow into other positions.
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.
S'lindokuhle Khubeka, IIE Bachelor of Commerce Graduate from Varsity College Pretoria's Class of 2015 is now a Financial Advisor with Discovery.
Here he tells us about his journey and living his best life.
About the position
My daily tasks include meeting an array of clients; admin work for clients (planning in order for them to achieve their financial goals and objectives) and formulating suitable strategies for my clients in order to ensure a sustainable financial future.
Commerce has always been an area of interest for me. In terms of my specialisation, I have always been fascinated by the mechanisms that make large organisations tick and always found that the biggest component in this engine was how the organisation was presented to the world. I wanted to explore that logic in order to apply it in my own entrepreneurial ventures someday.
Is your qualification relevant to your job?
Yes, my qualification is relevant to my job. A large portion of financial advice is client-centric therefore it is key that I provide my designated service at optimum levels.
In the broader context, I always need to be aware of the business environment, from changes all the way to more politically inclined current affairs. This qualification covers all of these areas extensively.
What is your greatest career achievement to date?
I would say that would be securing this job.
I would definitely like to branch out into entrepreneurship. However, in the short term, I plan to establish myself within the services industry while accumulating the best development, skills and experience from this great company.
The Independent Institute of Education is South Africa's largest private higher education provider. (Think #PrivateSchools, but in the university space).
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.
With almost daily, rapid advances in technology, the opportunities provided in the IT sector continue to expand and evolve at a similarly fast pace.
This means that prospective students – regardless of their major field of interest – should do careful research to determine whether there might be a match between their aspirations and strengths, and a career opportunity in this burgeoning industry, an education expert says.
Nola Payne, Head of Faculty: Information Technology at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest and most accredited private higher education institution, says often prospective students will only be exposed to more traditional options, but that there is a world of new choices where skilled graduates are highly sought-after.
"Careers now exist which were non-existent 5, even 2 years ago," says Payne.
"With this shift, forward-looking education providers are incorporating new technology and new careers into their curricula, and future students would do well to investigate new growth industries within their field of interest," she says.
"Furthermore, even working adults are now more than ever required to commit to lifelong learning. And adding an IT strength to one's repertoire within a field could help future-proof your career."
Payne cites the example of someone interested in studying education, or already working in the sector.
"That does not mean that you only have the option to become a teacher and stay one for the rest of your life. Because as education adopts technology, new professions are emerging. You could, for example, consider specialising in the exciting, very new field of instructional design," she says.
Instructional designers are the people who help subject matter experts to improve the learning experience by analysing learning needs and processes and systematically developing learning materials to address those needs, Payne explains.
"To some extent, all competent lecturers and teachers design their instruction. What differentiates instructional designers in the digital education space, is their use of technology and multimedia to enhance learning. An instructional designer will match a learning theory to technologies that not only add value to the content to be learned, but also enhance skills which need to be developed," she says.
In high demand due to the specialised skills required, instructional designers can work across any discipline with an appropriate subject matter expert to bring learning to life on a digital platform. They need to have a solid educational background - normally a qualification at postgraduate level in education - as well as experience working in the industry concerned, such as education or corporate training.
Payne says that it is also worth noting that even within the field of IT, rapid tech advances has demanded swift adaptation from workers.
"Enterprise technology has shifted to include mobile devices, access to some data and software to the cloud, and social networking.
"IT employees have had to make this shift and learn how to incorporate these technologies into their careers. Education providers have had to review their IT qualifications to develop their students into these emerging careers.
"If you are in a career in IT, or intend to pursue one, it is imperative that you constantly upskill and adapt yourself to ensure longevity in your career. It is impossible to predict the future of IT, but the one certainty is that it will change and that change will happen quickly."
Likewise, someone considering a career in sales or marketing may not be aware that they could actually specialise in the fast-growing field of social media marketing, which is no longer just a sub-function of being a marketer.
Payne says the current technologies and trends to be taken into consideration are:
And some of the hottest new careers include:
"As tech takes over even traditional fields of study and specialisation, it is especially important that future students carefully investigate all their options, because there may be many more than they, their parents or teachers imagined.
"Then it is also important to carefully consider the best match of course or combination of courses to the envisioned career, and finally the best institution at which to study. Many of these new fields and career options rely heavily on the ability to do rather than just theoretical knowledge. It's a new world out there, with lots of exciting new choices to make," says Payne.