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
University choices may feel like a distant priority for this year's Matrics who are currently settling into the rhythm of their final year at school. But now is in fact the optimal time to be investigating what they want to study and where, because making the right choice takes time, and will ultimately impact on study success and employability 4 years from now, an expert says.
"Prospective students will start applying from around the April holidays onwards, whereafter the applications will start coming in thick and fast, and the rush to secure a place will intensify. Once your fellow learners start applying, you will really start to feel the pressure to do so as well, which could lead to you settling for a generic qualification or taking the traditional route that others in the same boat as you are following just to make sure you don't miss your chance," says Nola Payne, Head of Faculty: Information and Communications Technology at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education institution.
"The gravity of the choice you need to make about your future in coming weeks can't be overstated. The right study choice at the right institution is a solid foundation for future success, but the wrong choice can exact a costly financial and emotional toll for a long time. It therefore makes sense to use the relative calm of the coming weeks – a calm that will not again be repeated in your Matric year – to make absolutely sure about what you want to do next year," says Payne.
She says there are two main questions around which Matrics should focus their investigations: 1) What should I study and 2) Where should I study.
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.
Thousands of first year students receiving their end of year results are having to face up to the fact that their dreams for the future are not materialising quite as they expected when they walked through the doors of higher learning at the start of the year. And while many of these students may consider throwing in the towel, that would be a mistake, an education expert says.
"First-year dropout rates are sky-high in South Africa," says Peter Kriel, General Manager at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider, "but students who don't successfully make the transition from school to university on their first attempt shouldn't be discouraged. Instead, they should re-assess their situation and continue on their higher learning path with a new strategy."
While statistics vary, it is estimated that more than 40% of students quit their studies after their first year. Some put the figure as high as 60%.
"If you failed or performed badly in your first year, you should not view this as an eternal pronouncement on your ability (or lack thereof) to make a success of your studies and ultimately earn a degree," says Kriel.
"There are many, many young people who don't achieve optimally right from the start, and by asking yourself a few questions about your direction and looking clearly at your options, you can still go forth confidently and make a success of higher learning," he says.
Kriel says while there are many underlying issues which contribute to first year failure, including factors such as difficulty adapting to the new environment and workload, as well as socio-economic or personal factors, a major contributor to first-year dropout is the fact that many students didn't thoroughly do their homework before deciding what to study and where.
Too often, prospective students simply go the traditional and some would say outdated route of signing up for a generic degree at their nearest public university, and then find themselves having to burn the midnight oil trying to digest information in which they have little interest, and which doesn't seem to correlate closely to anything practical that can be applied in the workplace.
"As a result, there is this disconnect between what the student is required to engage in day in and day out, and what they envision will be necessary to get their foot in the door in the 'real world' of work.
"So the first step for students who either failed their first year, or who passed but just can't see themselves continuing on their current path, is to take a step back and re-assess what they want and where they are going."
Importantly, they need to approach this with the commitment that they will continue and see through their studies, even if it means finding a different approach that makes more sense for them personally, Kriel says.
Then they should do one (or a combination of) the following:
The volume and complexity of the workload increases exponentially between school and higher education. If it is simply a case of you having misjudged what is required of you, undertake to start afresh next year and put in the effort consistently, from day one.
Sometimes too much time and attention are given to one or two areas of work, while others are neglected. Sometimes the way you approach certain tasks is not as efficient as it could be. Here is it helpful to ask your institution's career centre or student advisors (a good institution must offer these services), for help and guidance with your study strategy.
FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
If a student isn't pursuing a field that makes them excited about their learning and ultimately their future career, they are bound to lose momentum and interest in completing their studies. If it is clear at this stage that a first year's chosen qualification isn't working out, it is better to pursue a new path, rather than spending time and money trying to make the wrong one work. But very importantly, when considering a different qualification, students must ensure they properly research all available offerings. There are many new and exciting fields with work-focused qualifications that students may not even have been aware of in the past.
FIND AN INSTITUTION THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Higher education is no walk in the park, and making the transition from being assisted by teachers who know your name at school, to being a number sitting in front of a lecturer who needs to get hundreds of students through the year's curriculum, can be daunting. That is why it makes sense to find a higher education institution which is able to offer smaller class sizes and individual attention, which makes a marked difference to individual student outcomes.
"Our message to discouraged first years is to not give up. Don't view your past year as a wasted one – no education is ever wasted. Take the lesson and make the corrections where needed, and build on what you've achieved thus far," says Kriel.
The IIE has a history in education and training since 1909, and its brands - Rosebank College, Varsity College and Vega - are widely recognised and respected for producing workplace-ready graduates, many of whom become industry-leaders in their chosen fields. The IIE offers a wide range of qualifications, from post-graduate degrees to short courses, on 20 registered higher education campuses across South Africa.
Vega, a brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), SA's leadingp private higher education institution, has launched two online IIE degrees, aiming to offer individuals the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career in strategic brand management and communication.
Applications are open for The IIE Bachelor of Commerce in Strategic Brand Management and The IIE Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Brand Communication online. Both four-year IIE undergraduate degrees are available for online study from February 2019.
"We’ve done a great deal of work to ensure that the online learning platform isn’t just realm after realm of static text and images, but an interactive experience where students, no matter where they are, enjoy a comprehensive learning experience supported by our online experts," says Cynthia Olmesdahl, online strategist at Vega. "From extensive research, we know that support is key to online learning success, so we’ve gone above and beyond to ensure that students have scheduled and after-hours access to our experts," adds Olmesdahl. Students have access to dedicated online module tutors for course-related queries and regular tutorials and discussions, and an online success tutor for success motivation and support.The IIE Vega’s online team aim to bring extensive industry experience and expertise, specialising in facilitating online learning facilitation and online support."Whether individuals are entering higher education for the first time or returning to studies to further their careers, online learning offers flexibility for those with busy schedules," she says. While students are free to structure their study time as they see fit, Vega recommends participation in regular online sessions to benefit from mediated support from experts. Students are advised to spend 20 to 25 hours a week on engaging with the material to succeed. According to Vega, because of the quality of The IIE online learning platform, the learning experiences that contact students enjoy can also be incorporated into the online learning experience, such as the annual Brand Activation and the celebrated Brand Challenge projects when students engage with real-life briefs for real-life clients."Online learning shouldn’t be a lonely and isolated experience. Teamwork and collaboration are integral to the learning experience, along with engagement forums and some face-to-face interaction," she adds."Most importantly, this means that online students experience some of the 'Vega way' of life, through their involvement in our annual events and projects," says Olmesdahl.For more information, visit www.vegaschool.com. You can also follow Vega on Facebook, Twitter or on Instagram.
Bonolo Modise (Noli) is an entrepreneur and BA Media Studies & English graduate. She is now specialising in Brand Strategy as she studies towards her Honours Degree at The Independent Institute of Education's Vega School.
When she's not focusing on her studies, Noli is creating beautiful jewellery. Her brand is available for viewing online at JewelleryByNoli on Instagram. She designs and makes all her jewellery herself.
It all started as a hobby ten years ago after Noli took part in the MasterCard Junior Achievement South Africa mini-enterprise programme. Anyone looking for the perfect bling to round off their outfit or a gift for someone special would not regret buying one of Noli's designs.
Noli has a deep passion for dreadlocks and became the first International South African brand ambassador of a product brand for dreadlocks based in the USA. The young woman believes that for women, there are no limits to reaching their goals. There may come obstacles and challenges but "the baton of your #success is always in your hands".
Noli's words of encouragement to other women seek to keep them motivated and focused on their goals.
"You are the only person that can keep it moving forward. Don't doubt or delay yourself because you can do it," she says.
For the full story and to view Noli's spectacular designs, click on through to briefly.co.za .
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.
In a very helpful article in Destiny Man, education expert Peter Kriel of the Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider, provides some great tips on how to go about it if you want to earn a promotion, but don't know how to broach the subject.
Kriel, along with other experts, suggest the following:
Earn the respect and trust of your managers, peers and subordinates
It might sound like an obvious principle, but it’s something many employees don’t follow.
Kriel, General Manager at The IIE, says earning the respect of your colleagues and managers starts with understanding what the company expects from you and then going over and above that.
“To be trusted and respected is simply linked to ethical behaviour, by delivering what you promise, asking when you don’t know and always respecting those around you,” he advises.
Kriel also advises you to be open to feedback and constructive criticism.
You might think that you know it all, but there will always be someone who knows more than you – so ditch the attitude, Kriel says.
“People who give feedback normally have more experience than you and those who criticise, even wrongly, have a reason for doing so.
“Being open to feedback and criticism will not only earn you respect, but will put you in a position to become familiar with the specific nuances of the environment more rapidly,” he says.
Click here for the full article on Destiny Man, for further advice from Kriel and more experts.
Jesse Casanova, a graduate of The Independent Institute of Education's Vega School, has revealed his 'next generation' social media app idea, which recently gained international attention.
"The idea came from observing people and how mobile technology has encouraged us to spend more time engaged in the virtual world," says Casanova."What we’re working on uses the same technology to bring them back to brick and mortar stores to enjoy real-life experiences again," he adds.Although Casanova is limited in terms of the information he is able to share about the app at the moment, he can reveal that it’s more than a social platform – it’s also an opportunity for businesses to engage with the right audiences in a way that has never been seen before.Casanova, who obtained an IIE Bachelor of Arts in Creative Brand Communications in 2014, says that he relied heavily on the skills he learned at Vega during the development and pitching process for his app. "I specialised in multimedia while studying at Vega where I developed the skills essential to building my app idea," says Casanova.The app is still in its early development phases, and Casanova has been invited to meet with investors in China."Securing my position in the Chinese market would almost be like accomplishing the impossible – especially considering that Facebook and the rest of my competitors are banned in China. China also has over 640 million smartphone users, a number that seems to rapidly double the United States entire population," he concludes. For the full article, head over to Media Update.
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
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."
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.