Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Pay

Oct 15
IIE BCom GRADUATE FLYING HIGH IN UK LUXURY TRAVEL MARKET


Kimberly Dunstan-Smith graduated from The IIE's Varsity College in Durban North in 2016, with an IIE Bachelor of Commerce Degree.

Today, she fills the enviable position of Partnerships Manager at The Telegraph Media Group in the UK.

The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), is SA's largest and most accredited private higher education institution, and is internationally accredited by The British Accreditation Council.


Here Kimberly tells about her life after graduation:

Description of your duties on a daily basis:

I review top luxury UK hotels, plan newspaper space to maximise revenue and form long-term partnerships.  I also negotiate, contract and place UK hotels into space and plan commercial activity.

Why did you choose the qualification you studied?

I chose it because it is a broad and creative degree with business factors.

What is your greatest career achievement to date?

I have a few such as having been placed at Telegraph within two weeks of arriving in the UK, having generated over £1m in revenue and being the youngest manager in my team.

What are your future career plans?

I plan to grow and climb the corporate ladder.

What was the one thing that stood out for you about The IIE's Varsity College?

What stood out for me was the family feeling as well as feeling understood and safe.



DID YOU KNOW?


Aug 28
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR PARENTS DON'T AGREE WITH YOUR STUDY CHOICE


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 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 23
MIND THE GAP: WHY YOU SHOULD THINK TWICE BEFORE TAKING A YEAR OFF AFTER SCHOOL


Matrics who are tempted to take a year off after their school careers – whether it is because they feel they just need a break, or because they don't yet know if or what they want to study – should think twice about their decision, an education expert says.

"There are significant implications to taking a so-called gap year instead of directly entering studies," says Peter Kriel, General Manager at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider.

Chief among these, is the fact that graduates who went to study straight after school, and who completed their qualification within the required timeframe, are significantly better off than matriculants who elected to enter the workplace right away or who opted for a gap year, particularly if that gap year is unproductive.

"A gap year doesn't necessarily mean that you take off a year to travel the world and pretty much do nothing as the term was understood in the past. The concept has evolved to include other activities, such as getting a job after Matric to earn some money or gain work experience, or volunteering or even undergoing a structured programme," says Kriel.

However, while these options are still better than just relaxing for a year before entering studies, they may still put you behind your peers in terms of studying and earning potential, he says.

Another risk with taking a gap year, is that one loses one's "study muscles", says Kriel.

"It is completely understandable that the idea of getting away from the books after the demands of one's final year at school is a very attractive idea for many. However after that year, getting back into the habit of studying and focusing on academics are major challenges which are best avoided."

But Kriel adds that there are ways to make a gap year work, which will lessen its impact on a person's long-term success in the workplace. And obviously, where a young person is really not sure what they want to study, a gap year as long as it is productive is a better investment than a failed year of post-school study.

"If you do decide to take a gap year, it is crucial that you at least do something to improve your skills and competencies during that time. A great option in this instance, is to do some distance or part-time courses."

This is a particularly attractive option for those Matriculants who are hesitant to sign up for a full degree straight away because they are still uncertain of what they want to do with their life.

"Doing some short or distance courses allows you to investigate your options and interests without the financial and time commitments required of full-time degree study," notes Kriel.

"This means that you can get a better idea of where your passion and talents lie, while at the same time earning some certification that will make your gap year less of a 'hole' in your CV. 

"And finally, staying with the books, even without the commitment of having to study full-time and the ability to study at your own pace, means that you keep your brain working and geared for when you do sign up for full qualification study later."

It is important to also note that some higher education institutions will not keep your "offer" warm for you, so if you get in to the qualification of your dreams it is rarely prudent to delay taking up the place, says Kriel.

"But for those who have legitimate reasons for not going straight into further studies, our advice is definitely to ensure that you don't lose sight of the long game, and that you keep learning even if you are already earning."

Kriel says the time should also be used to actively investigate future study options to limit time-wasting later.

"Look at all the higher education institutions, whether it be a public university or private, and their offerings. Find a qualification that will make you employable - one that is recognised by employers and has a curriculum that is relevant in the workplace of today.

"You must also choose an institution whose curricula and learning processes enable you to master work-ready skills so that you have a competitive 'hit the ground running' advantage. Having a portfolio of work at graduation, for example, allows you to instantly showcase what you have learnt and what makes you an attractive prospect to potential employers.

"Finally, you must choose an institution that will give you the best possible chance of succeeding and completing your qualification in the minimum time. Every additional year of study leaves a long-term financial impact, so consider things such as student support, class sizes, and the quality of lecturing and facilities."

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.


 

 


May 22
CAREERS OF THE FUTURE: RISING DEMAND FOR EXCEPTIONAL BUSINESS ANALYSTS


Increasing automisation of business processes is driving the demand for qualified and experienced business analysts, as these professionals are uniquely positioned to help companies adapt, innovate and reinvent in a challenging environment, an expert says.

"For an organisation to retain its competitive advantage, it is constantly required to identify new opportunities and different ways of conducting its business, and human insight and understanding remain invaluable in this context," says Wonga Ntshinga, Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest and most accredited private higher education institution.

He says some of the challenges still faced by organisations, particularly in South Africa, and in both the public and private sector, include:

  • That business processes are still performed manually,
  • An increase in employee workload due to an increase in clients,
  • An unstructured and inconsistent approach which sees duplication in ICT systems and personnel functions,
  • That processes are adapted to software applications rather than the other way around,
  • That systems processes need to be manually rectified due to incorrect reconciliation,
  • That entire processes are compromised due to attempts at streamlining and optimising. 

Ntshinga says that quality higher education institutions such as The Independent Institute of Education are increasingly recognising the need for qualifications that specifically address these emerging organisational demands, which will only increase in coming years.

"To survive and thrive as the fourth industrial revolution begins to manifest, organisations and companies need to adapt, innovate and reinvent. Institutions of learning therefore need to prepare students for this reality, where customers are smarter, enterprises are extending, business models are continuously changing, and where there is an increase in intelligent automation and Artificial Intelligence application.

"Business Analysis is a relatively new discipline that draws on and consolidates learning and experiences from other fields, and prepares students for this skill of the future.

"We predict a marked rise in coming years in the demand for well-rounded graduates who have proper technical depth combined with a good appreciation of the business edge of ICT."

Ntshinga explains that Business Analysis involves the understanding of how organisations function to accomplish their purpose, and the ability to define and implement the capabilities an organisation requires to effectively provide products and services to external stakeholders.

"Business analysis, as a discipline, gives students and graduates an opportunity to analyse business needs and challenges, to propose creative, workable and desired solutions that are financially sound."

In order to do this, Business Analysts are required to:

  1. Clarify what problems an initiative is trying to solve – i.e. define and solve problems to ensure that the real, underlying problem is understood;  
  2. Apply project management skills, together with written and oral communication skills to effectively express ideas in ways that are appropriate to the target audience;
  3. Adapt to organisational culture and seek out communities of practise to help requirement elicitation. Eliciting requirements is a key to business analysis because the requirements serve as the foundation for the solution to the business need;
  4. Model and low-code business processes (e.g. using Business Process Modelling Notation); and
  5. Manage the risks related to the ability of a solution to meet the business need. 

"As organisations will increasingly require professionals who can ensure that IT service management integrates people, processes and technology initiatives to deliver business value, there will be an increase in demand for candidates who can demonstrate that they are qualified and up to this complex task. Ultimately, these professionals will have to ensure that they address challenges of duplication, redundancy, the lack of standardisation, and inconsistent measurement and control."

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 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.



Apr 17
GRADE 9 SUBJECT CHOICES: AVOID RISKY SELECTIONS IN FACE OF CHANGED REQUIREMENTS


In coming months, Grade Nines will choose which subjects to pursue during their final school years and on which they will be tested when they sit for their final Matric exams. And while the Department of Basic Education announced the withdrawal of the "designated subject" list earlier this year - the list of subjects from which students who want to pursue a degree after school have had to select their subjects – there are some serious considerations not to be ignored, an expert says.

"Some may argue that the withdrawal of the designed subject list gives young people more choices, but we urge schools and learners not to make risky and uninformed changes," says Dr Felicity Coughlan, Director of The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider.

She notes that the original list contained many of the traditional subjects used to gain access to University, and that many of these subjects required learners to master skills that will be important for them to succeed in higher education after admission.

"These skills include argumentation and reasoning, found in subjects such as History, logic and mathematics as found in Accountancy and Maths or Maths Literacy, and evidence and scientific reasoning skills, as found in Physical Science and Life Sciences. 

"Additionally, the two-language requirement also ensured a well-rounded educational experience for students living in a multilingual country.  The reasoning behind the original inclusion of these subjects should be remembered, and students are encouraged not to put together a collection of subjects that are all of one type which will result in them developing less holistic academic skills.  The impact on their studies later in life will be real," says Coughlan.

In addition, learners considering their subject choices should remember that despite the change of requirements at school, Universities were not at the same time required to change their admission requirements.

"Higher education institutions need not change entry requirements if they don't want to, and one can be sure that many – if not most – won't. Definitely not in the short term, and particularly not for those qualifications that currently require Mathematics or Life Sciences. We therefore encourage learners to do their homework before opting out of these traditionally required subjects."

The third consideration follows from the first two, says Coughlan. 

"Some subjects, such as Design, were omitted from the original list but have been accepted by some institutions for several years now as part of conditional admission requirements for certain qualifications.  Design thinking is a strong and necessary skill for modern living and it is likely that it will become more and more acceptable for admission to higher education." 

Design therefore is one of the examples that should be considered as part of a portfolio of creative subjects after learners have checked its acceptability to the higher education institution of their choice, Coughlan notes.

"In light of these changes in subject choice requirements, and given the risk of learners opting for perceived easier subjects or subjects that are too similar in nature, we urge learners to investigate their options carefully, and schools to support them in making informed decisions," says Coughlan.

"The public higher education sector is not likely to change quickly to accept subjects they currently do not accept, and while the private higher education sector may be more progressive, our advice remains the same as it has always been: to select subjects that keep your study options open. This means learners should include at least one subject in which they know they can excel, and then others that will teach you a range of different skills. 

"In today's volatile and uncertain world, it is more important than ever before to cultivate an extended base of skills from which you can draw, to improve your chances of succeeding."

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.

 


Feb 08
TOP TIPS FOR WORKING ADULTS WHO WANT TO HIT THE BOOKS AGAIN


In today's extremely competitive job market, many people consider further studies to boost their careers, broaden their horizons, or improve their chances of landing a promotion. 

It's a fact that further study can be a very rewarding journey, bringing new energy and drive into your life and having a positive impact even beyond the workplace, if certain guidelines are followed.

But going back to school years after you thought you had closed the book on studies, is a very challenging endeavour and not to be tackled without due consideration. Too often adult learners throw in the towel without having ensured they have the basic structures and strategies in place.

Studying while having to juggle a job and family is hugely stressful and intimidating, but staying the course will almost certainly give successful students a new lease on life. However, if you are considering this, you must accept that compromises will have to be made, and not allow life's daily challenges to trip you up.

If you are ready to take your life next level though, here are 5 brilliant strategies to rock the world of study as an adult, brought to you by The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education provider.

CREATE A STUDY ROSTER AND STICK TO IT

Working on your studies as and when you have the time can create unnecessary stress and is setting you up for failure. Find a standard block of time every day, or at least four days of the week, which will be used only for study. This time needs to be free from interference so that you can focus. Choose the hours that work best for you – early morning, a few hours before bed each night, or a block of hours every Saturday and Sunday morning.

Creating a consistent study block is also a useful mechanism to manage the expectations of friends, family and colleagues, who will come to learn that you are unavailable to them during your designated study time.

But also ensure that you balance the amount of time spent on the administrative side of your studies and the amount of time spent with your nose in the books. Those hours should not be spent on endless admin and drawing up of schedules, 85% of it should be spent learning.

GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW

Being a parent – whether single or in a partnership – can make study a little bit more complicated, but not impossible.

If you have children, ensure that that you have reliable child-care lined up as well as a back-up plan. Having group-work meetings, lectures or exams interrupted because of unreliable child-care creates unnecessary stress and can damage your focus and motivation.

If you are employed, make sure that your colleagues and your line managers are supportive of your studies. Understanding and empathic colleagues can provide much needed advice and emotional support. Explain the value that your studies will add to your ability to do a better job and how it will be to the advantage of your company. Make sure that your decision is supported, and use the study leave available to you, should your company make provision for it.

REMEMBER THAT MATURITY IS NOT A DISADVANTAGE

Studies can be daunting from the perspective of an adult with a number of other responsibilities.

Younger students do seem to have the easier time of it, as they may not yet be financially responsible for themselves and they may not have as many responsibilities to focus on. However, the value of life-experience and maturity should not be underestimated. As an adult learner, you have a wealth of experience and greater familiarity with socialisation to draw upon. This contextualises theoretical studies, which makes the material easier to internalise and remember. Be confident in what you already know.

HARNESS NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

Furthering your studies is about more than just mastering the subject material.

It is an opportunity to cultivate relationships with lecturers, guest lecturers and fellow-students. An academic discipline that you have in common with them is an easy conversation starter. In the future, these people can be great resources for potential job opportunities or providing professional advice, so make sure you build your network.


NURTURE A SUPPORT BASE AMONG YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS

You are not alone in this, and many other students in your course will be going through the same stress and pressures that you are.

Cultivate relationships, and start an online support group via WhatsApp or Facebook, where you can share resources, emotional support and remind each other of scheduling or deadlines. Before you know it, you and your new friends and future colleagues will write your last exam, and the sacrifices you made to get there will pale against the victory of holding your qualification in hand.​

Come to terms with the fact that it is not going to be easy. You are going to have to commit a sizable chunk of your time and energy to your studies. Keep reminding yourself of your end goal and the benefits that will far outweigh the stress and effort.



Oct 19
THE DEGREE THAT CAN FUTURE-PROOF YOUR CAREER


We live in an age where the probability of automation radically changing most of today’s jobs is fast becoming a reality. Futurist Thomas Frey believes that two billion jobs will disappear by 2030, which is approximately 50% of the current workforce. 

Young people need to choose careers that will equip them with the critical skills that they’ll need to build the future workplace. To ensure this, studying a future focused degree is the first step.

Vega, a brand of The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest and most accredited private higher education provider, delivers two IIE BCom degrees that equip graduates with the problem-solving skills and creative adaptability needed to be the venturesome, innovative, transformative and collaborative leaders the future requires – regardless of the industries they choose to enter.

“A future-proofed degree needs to embed both fundamental knowledge and soft skills to produce graduate thinkers and problem solvers capable of exploration and analysis – essentially we are graduating the employees that businesses will need to survive. The BCom degrees have therefore been designed to enable our graduates to develop these skills in real-world scenarios,” says Dr Carla Enslin, Brand Strategist, and co-founder of Vega.

“These real-world experiences include our industry-supported brand challenges, where we partner with businesses experiencing pressing challenges. Students apply their academic knowledge, critical thinking, and creativity to resolve these business problems – just as they would have to in the working environment – while at the same time learning complex problem solving, and the bravery to challenge the status quo,” she explains. 

“The future work place needs graduates who are whole-brain thinkers.”

Lindsay Day, Programme Navigator: Business Leadership at Vega explains that building on lectured content with real-world experiences as part of Vega’s purpose-built curriculum gives students the confidence they need come up with creative solutions, and then to explain and defend them as they would in the workplace.

“Balancing subjects such as accountancy, financial management and commercial law – all essential tools for building or running a successful business – with subjects like experiential marketing management, information systems strategy, and research practice, adds a depth of confidence and creativity that prepares our graduates to respond to the business contexts that they will face after graduation, and of course into the future” she says.

Students challenging one another and holding each other accountable in a real-world environment is far more constructive than studying in isolation, and this is much more representative of today and tomorrow’s workplace. In addition, the power of many voices and opinions stimulated by access to technology and mentors in the business world encourages an exponential growth in confidence, learning and key skills development.

Original and diverse thinking is being acknowledged and rewarded more now than ever before in the workplace. Exciting opportunities therefore exist for graduates who have learnt to apply themselves.

Dr Felicity Coughlan, Director of The Independent Institute of Education and Group Academic Director of ADvTECH says: “Business models such as Waze, Airbnb, Facebook, Travelstart, WhatsApp, and Uber exist because their founders were brave enough to not only think outside, but beyond the box. They created solutions to new-world problems. It’s no longer about graduates being required to solve a specific problem, but rather being able to identify opportunities that change will cause, even before they happen. This will set them apart from their peers and guarantee future employment.”

The future workplace needs more astute, agile and better-equipped sense makers.  A purpose-led BCom degree will help train students with the requisite insights and skills to probe for the right answers, dissect and analyse departments and units to reveal actual brand and business challenges, and ultimately provide original, concrete solutions.

“Education in Africa must be reinforced by research into evolving industries, and continuous evaluation of new skillsets to enhance traditional offerings. Our analysis and evolution of these important degrees provides the leaders of the future the aptitude to venture into the unknown, and to create solutions for developing enterprises and brands in the informal sector. This is especially true for the so-called missing middle, which make up a substantial percentage of the local market,” says Nina de Klerk, National Head: Postgraduate Research and Alliances, Vega School.

The BCom Digital Marketing and BCom Strategic Brand Management degrees available to study at Vega equip students with key skills to master cohesive brand, business and management strategies, including innovative approaches to financial analysis, the evaluation of strategic brand building, and management of performance through appropriate metrics. In addition, students have the option of pursuing an Honours in Strategic Brand Management degree at Vega on a full-time or part-time basis.

Building the next generation of leaders and decision-makers starts with a good foundation. Get a feel for the Vega way of life at the Vega Open Day, taking place on Saturday, 28 October 2017. For more information about Vega and the range of IIE qualifications available for study in 2018, visit www.vegaschool.com. 



Jul 11
SA HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION TOPS FOR HELPING GRADUATES JOIN WORLD OF WORK

 

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.


 

 

Apr 18
THE SKILLS ALL STUDENTS NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL POST 2020

Educational institutions in South Africa and across the globe are lagging behind in equipping learners with the skills they will require to be employable in coming years. As a matter of priority, local institutions must immediately devise a plan of action to incorporate these essential skills - also known as global competencies - in schools and higher education institutions, an education expert warns.

"Many international businesses and thought leaders are increasingly raising the discussion around competencies students now need, so that they will be able to face the complex challenges and changes taking place in the global workspace," says Traci Salter, Strategic Academic Development Advisor at ADvTECH, Africa's largest private education provider.

"Developing these competencies will be of benefit to all students and are as important as the foundational skills of literacy and mathematics. They should be core in the way we learn, as well as in the way we need to interact in the world that is," she says.

 


Salter says that globally, there is increasing acknowledgement of the fact that less than three years from now, in 2020, the skills necessary in previous years will have been replaced by a demand for different skills that are not being given the required attention. Addressing this discrepancy is now crucial.

"The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently revealed the results of a study into the Future of Jobs, which considered the employment, skills and workforce strategies of the future. They canvassed chief HR and strategy officials from the world's top companies, across industries and geographies, to determine what they will require of future recruits.

"They compiled a summary list of the top ten skills identified for both 2015 and 2020 and shared their findings of what needed to be taught. While some countries have made significant strides in implementing programmes to empower their young people in this regard, others, including South Africa, are falling dangerously behind."

Salter says that the results were an eye-opener, and that South Africa can no longer afford to ignore these fundamental findings (see infographic below) clearly identified by the WEF.

"All educational groups need to be referencing this list and asking how they are ensuring these skills are being developed and embedded within the teaching and learning taking place at their schools, colleges and universities," she says.

Salter says that at ADvTECH, the Core Skills Continuum has been rolled out across the group's 96 schools and packaged into five broad categories, namely: Thinking Skills, Research Skills, Communication Skills, Social Skills and Self-Management Skills.  Each of these key areas have been broken down into specific focus areas and age appropriate outcomes, which are continually revisited from Grade 000 to Matric, thereby progressively developing students' abilities and enabling them throughout their educational journey.


She adds that any perception that these global competencies are nice-to-haves, given South Africa's existing challenges in education, is simply naive. Additionally, implementation, while calling for commitment and an investment in staff training, time and energy, does not require vast additional funding.

"All schools, higher education institutions and universities, whether public or private, must take note of the WEF guidelines or risk having our country's students left behind in what is generally now being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution," she says.

Salter further explains these core skills are not an addition to existing curricula, but a change in approach to teaching and learning.

"Core Skills are transdisciplinary skills that must be incorporated as part of all learning experiences. No matter the content or concepts being explored, there are opportunities in all of these, for different types of thinking, various forms of research, opportunities for collaborative tasks, numerous ways to communicate understandings as well as occasions for students to develop their self-management skills," she says.

Salter says that teacher education and professional training are crucial to the successful implementation of global competence education.

"South African educational institutions should be providing specific training programmes to support teachers in acquiring a critical awareness of the essential role education can play in the unpacking and development of these fundamental global skills.

"Facing unprecedented challenges and opportunities, this generation of educators are now compelled to address these required capacities, and it is now no longer a negotiable discussion. These skills are, simply put, prerequisite global competencies, which means that no matter where in the world we are, we will all need to be competent and confident in applying them in a myriad of settings."

DID YOU KNOW?

The ADvTECH Group, a JSE-listed company, is Africa's largest private education provider and a continental leader in quality education, training, skills development and placement services. The Group reports its performance in a segmental structure reflecting the Schools and Tertiary as two separate education divisions, and Resourcing as the third division.

It owns 9 tertiary brands, across 28 sites across South Africa and the rest of Africa. Its higher education division, The Independent Institute of Education, is SA's largest and most accredited private higher education institution.

ADvTECH's schools division comprises 7 brands with 90 schools across South Africa, as well as Gaborone International School in Botswana.

Its 10 resourcing brands places thousands of candidates annually, assisting graduates to make the transition from the world of study to the world of work.

 ​

Mar 24
5 RULES FOR SURVIVING POST-GRAD STUDY (AND LIFE IN GENERAL)

​​

                            

Even students who did well in achieving their undergraduate qualifications are often caught by surprise when the full reality of the demands of post-graduate study hits them. And those who struggled through their undergraduate qualifications may see only dark days ahead. But before throwing in the towel, there are a few tips that can help those studying towards Honours and Masters Degrees, an education expert says.

“Many will be surprised at how different the demands are between under- and postgraduate study and may be wondering if they had not taken on more than they can cope with,” says Peter Kriel, General Manager at The Independent Institute of Education.

IIE - The Independent Institute of Education is South Africa's largest private higher education provider. By law, private higher education institutions may not call themselves Private Universities. But all registered private institutions are subject to exactly the same regulations, accreditation requirements and oversight as Public Universities, which means that your qualification from its outstanding and respected brands such as Varsity College, Vega, Rosebank College, The Business School and Design School SA, is as valuable and recognised locally and internationally.​


“It is particularly the research component of postgraduate studies that seems to floor students. And students often experience an overwhelming sense of loneliness during the research phase because of the personal and individual nature of their inquiry into their chosen field.”

Kriel says combatting this sense of loneliness and isolation is key to making a success of postgraduate study, and particularly so for students who are studying part time or some distance from a campus.

“As is the case with all stressors, the first route of action is to understand what is happening to you and then tackle the experience with solutions that you actively apply. There are a few practical things you must do to help you through this process.”

Form a community of practice: Talk to other students also involved in postgraduate studies, and make a point to not only talk about the academic demands, but also how you experience this path. This way you will realise that you are not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Your community of practice can be an online forum or regular coffee meeting – the point is to ensure that you surround yourself (physically or virtually) with people on the same path.

Know yourselfTake an honest look at your daily habits. You know yourself well enough to identify when you are procrastinating or making excuses.  Call yourself out on these and act differently – even if you do not yet feel differently. Be honest with yourself about what constitutes a real challenge and what amounts to evasive tactics.  The best way to make yourself behave differently is to share these insights – perhaps with your community of practice or a friend or colleague – and share your commitment to how you are going to change.  That way, further procrastination involves letting someone else down too, and is less likely to happen.

Look after your mental wellness: It is normal to experience periods of high vulnerability, tiredness and anxiety about what needs to be done. Balance, says Kriel, is always the answer.  Work backwards from deadlines and set yourself many smaller manageable goals; be sure to plan for downtime, rest and relaxation, and get into the habit of a measured pace.  Recalibrate your plan as soon as you miss one deadline and you won’t land up with that sickening feeling of not having made any progress on your thesis for six months.

Look after your physical wellnessThis includes getting regular exercise and eating well. Kriel says that the 30 mins you take to go for a brisk walk or go to gym or do something you love will not only improve your productivity, but also give you time to reflect on your work, which often results in finding solutions to challenges.   Remember that good eating habits do not consist of increasing your intake of chocolate and caffeine only, and excessive alcohol use is a sure way to set yourself up for failure.

Deal with life as it happensWhether it be a personal crisis, a promotion, a health challenge or failed relationship, life can disrupt the best laid plans.  Communication is the key to limiting the impact of life on completing your qualification – speak to your supervisor as soon as you can and adjust your plan to accommodate the new challenge.  If you adhered to the above, then it is most unlikely that there will be an objection to you realigning goals and deadlines to accommodate what life has thrown at you, Kriel says.

He says the steps outlined above are not just sound advice for postgraduate students, but for any individual trying to make the best of their life, opportunities and circumstances.

But the value of postgraduate students taking these suggestions seriously lies in the fact that the feelings of isolation and being overwhelmed often come as a shock – particularly to postgraduates who are generally high achievers and usually able to mediate all challenges – and these steps are a sure-fire way to get them back on track.

“Postgraduate students are often surprised by these new feelings and the challenges that they bring, but if they realise that their feelings are normal, that they are not alone, and that there are methods to address them, they are able to stop the spiral of fear and loathing that could prevent them from reaching their dreams,” he says.

1 - 10Next