The graduate employability strategy of The Independent Institute of Education, as implemented on Rosebank College campuses throughout South Africa, has been recognised as the top programme of its kind by the World Bank.
The Independent Institute of Education recently formed part of a global group of institutions from developing countries and regions - including Jordan, Columbia, the Philippines, Mozambique and Brazil - which participated in a pilot study by the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank.
The study assessed institutions' strategies to enable graduate employability on several dimensions as part of a project developing a tool to measure the effectiveness of strategies within institutions. Ultimately, the work done at The IIE's Rosebank College campuses was ranked the highest overall alongside the work done in Jordan.
Graduate employability is an international imperative and a successful programme has a clear vision which embeds employability in the curriculum and assessments; engages employers directly; offers structured career services including coaching to students and graduates and has effective and efficient methods for sharing information and linking students, new graduates, employers and alumni.
By assessing these dimensions, the project sought to help institutions strengthen their employability offering to their students.
The investigating team commended The Independent Institute of Education on the deep embeddedness of employability imperatives from curriculum design to graduation, and in particular, were deeply impressed with the work done at Rosebank College.
The employability services on these campuses, under the guidance of Rosebank College's National Graduate Development Manager Lillian Bususu and her team, ensure that the college maintains close contact with students and companies throughout the country, connecting students with the more than 800 prospective employers on their books.
As a result of the strong focus on, and investment in the employability of their graduates, and despite the tough job market, 62.5% of the Rosebank College's Class of 2015 were in employment in 2016, and 76% of them secured a position within 6 months of completing their qualifications.
"Essentially, we have been able to develop a programme which ensures that our graduates not only have the skills that employers want, but also that these skills and qualifications are complemented by real-world workplace competencies, and that these rounded individuals are then matched to the right employers," says Bususu.
"The result is striking, and employers often remark about the fact that we have a different caliber of graduate coming out of our institution. The additional work we do with our students – coaching them in aspects such as CV writing, personal presentation and marketing, handling interviews, and also very importantly, approaching the job search and the world of work with a productive attitude – makes an unmistakable difference."
Bususu says public universities and private institutions have a duty to do more for their students than simply delivering knowledge and qualifications.
"We have to ensure that our young people understand and are able to navigate the intricacies and challenges of the real world, and we have to be able to help them successfully transition from lecture room to workplace," she says.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) is a division of the JSE-listed ADvTECH, Africa's largest private education group. The IIE is the leading private higher education provider in South Africa, and the only one accredited by The British Accreditation Council (BAC), the independent quality assurance authority that accredits private institutions in the UK.
By law, private higher education institutions in South Africa may not call themselves Private Universities, although registered private institutions are subject to the same regulations, accreditation requirements and oversight as Public Universities.
The IIE has a history in education and training since 1909, and its brands - Rosebank College, Varsity College, Design School Southern Africa (DSSA) and Vega - are widely recognised and respected for producing workplace-ready graduates, many of whom become industry-leaders in their chosen fields. The IIE offers a wide range of qualifications, from post-graduate degrees to short courses, on 20 registered higher education campuses across South Africa.