With about 30 days left before the start of the 2020 Matric exams, the focus of Grade 12s is now firmly on the final preparation for this important milestone. But they should also take some time to finalise their Higher Education plans for next year, as the clock is ticking on closing dates for applications.
"Matrics cannot wait until they receive their results – currently scheduled for release on February 23 next year - before applying, as this will most likely mean they miss out on a space at their institution and for their qualification of choice as deadlines at many institutions are still in place," says Peter Kriel, General Manager at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest and most accredited private higher education institution.
"Beyond a later start to the higher education academic year it is still not clear what else higher education will need to do in response to COVID-19 in 2021, but so many lessons have been learned that most institutions are feeling confident about navigating the year ahead," he says.
Kriel says the deadline for enrolments at many public and private institutions is only a month away, so Matrics should be investigating their options and send in their applications without delay.
"Particularly for full-time, contact undergraduate programmes, where there is much competition for a limited amount of space, prospective students need to make a commitment as soon as possible," he says.
At some institutions and for some qualifications, such as diplomas or higher certificate programmes, applications may remain open for longer, but even for these programmes applications close when capacity is reached, he says.
Some institutions may also have late registration options, or allow registration right up until the start of the academic year, but it is best to secure one's place timeously rather than gamble on space being available later.
"So use your study downtime to investigate prospective higher education institutions and courses that interest you. It'll provide a welcome and interesting break from revision, while also serving as a motivation to do your best when you hit the books again. We all need to focus on the future," he says.
Kriel says those students who don't yet have a clear idea about what they want to study or where, should look at all the institutions that appeal to them, and then contact a student advisor on these campuses for guidance.
"It is particularly important to remember that historic pathways have been all but obliterated by the new world in which we now find ourselves," he says.
"The COVID-19 and lockdown experiences served to realign our priorities and focus, and now, more than ever, it doesn't make much sense to simply go study because of the perceived prestige of an institution or qualification. Prospective students should look at qualifications that make real-world sense and are geared towards getting them ready for a competitive and ever-evolving job market.
"And they need to identify those institutions where students were able to continue studying mostly uninterrupted during the lockdown, with the kind of support that ensured they could continue to deliver to their best ability," he says.
Before settling on a qualification, students should ensure they have a clear idea of their envisioned academic path.
"What do you want to do after qualifying? Have you considered all the options by looking at the prospectuses of more than one higher education institution? Have you considered the track record of alumni from specific institutions, and the value a specific qualification has within an industry? These are all questions that you need to weigh up before signing up," he says.
Kriel says prospective students may be surprised at the range of options available to them that they may never even have heard of before.
"The focus today should be on studying towards a work-focused, real-world qualification, and there is a large number of new and emerging careers from which to choose. So don't wait and see when it comes to next year. The logistics will fall in place, but you need to make your move soon to ensure a smooth continuation of your educational journey in 2021."
Looking for a job is not an easy task. Interviews are challenging for both the interviewee and interviewer. From the interviewee's point of view, the challenge is showcasing one's talents and personality. The interviewer is grappling with which questions to ask the candidate to see past the nerves. Ultimately both parties are looking for an alignment of values, energy, and vision.
The buzz around 3D printing is exciting and presents a world of opportunities for printing companies and their prospective employees and clients. We spoke to Craig Williamson, the manager at Jetline in Rosebank, to find out what traits he looks for when hiring employees.
Craig is known for excellent service and putting customers first. Another admirable quality that makes Jetline Rosebank a choice before many is the level of respect and professionalism Craig displays when dealing with clients. Below are the traits Craig looks for when looking at prospective employees.
As individuals, we expect loyalty from our friends and family. The same applies to the professional world. Employers are looking for loyal employees who give them peace of mind - that their business' interests and clients will be a priority.
Growth is one of the primary reasons for any business being in existence. Employers are looking for go-getters to innovate processes, products and services - to ensure that the company is offering relevant products that meet customer expectations.
Commitment and honesty
A relationship between an employer and employee should be based on trust and honesty. A commitment from both parties to act in the best interests of the business and its clients is vital.
Communication is the heartbeat of any business. Employees need to be able to communicate clearly, respectfully, and professionally with all stakeholders.
The job-hunting process is never easy, ask for help, and never give up. There are various graduate programmes that are there to assist graduates with advice and information, such as the IIE Rosebank College Graduate Empowerment Programme which has placed over 12,000 IIE graduates from Rosebank College in employment, since 2012.
IIE Rosebank College and Isipho Admin have collaborated to empower South African youth. We believe our vision of changing lives and theirs' of improving lives by providing entry into the Executive Assistant profession, is a definite recipe for success.
"We love the difference Isipho is making, and any partnership that involves educating and empowering young individuals is close to our hearts. We also love partnering with organisations that align with our values and purpose, says Greg Fillmore, Managing Director at IIE Rosebank College.
Isipho Admin is a nonprofit organisation with a dream of uplifting communities by assisting youth to study towards a qualification that will see them enter the Executive Assistant profession. Isipho is funded by "Isipho Angels" which are admin and training professionals situated in various countries around the world.
Anel Martin and Terri Wells' dream of giving back came to light in 2016, when they awarded their first bursary to Lerato. Lerato completed her qualification and now works at a big corporate in South Africa and fortunately also believes in giving back to her community. Lerato and others like her contribute a portion of their salaries to the organisation to keep the dreams of other deserving students alive.
IIE Rosebank College, a brand of The Independent Institute of South Africa (The IIE), has long believed in making quality education accessible. The choice of study mode, such as blended or online learning gives students the flexibility to work and study. This flexibility also empowers them to gain experience while studying. With over 19 000 students across nine campuses studying online, face-to-face and through blended learning – IIE Rosebank College is staying true to their purpose of making education more accessible for all.
Like IIE Rosebank College with its Graduate Empowerment Programme (GEP), Isipho Admin also believes in grooming well-rounded individuals by pairing each student with a mentor. This provides students with the opportunity to learn life skills and prepare for the world of work. As the African proverb says, it takes a village to empower youth - together with their sponsors, Isipho has empowered and impacted 16 lives, since 2016.
IIE Rosebank College is looking forward to what the new norm has to offer and are committed to completing the 2020 academic year. We are open for 2021 applications and registrations. We urge students to apply and take advantage of any early bird application fee discounts that may be running.
The clock is ticking for an estimated 1.1 million Matrics from the Class of 2020, who will sit for their final exams in two months' time after arguably the most challenging year they would have faced during their school careers.
With uncertainty still lingering about much of what is to come, these students now have to ensure they get in the right frame of mind to perform to the best of their ability despite the unprecedented circumstances and novel logistical arrangements they will face, an education expert says.
"Learners must now take stock of where they are academically, and determine what ground still needs to be covered so that they are fully prepared," 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.
"On top of this, they need to work through any concerns around the rest of the year, exam logistics, and their future plans so that they can put aside those issues causing anxiety and focus solely on their revision," he says.
Ntshinga says while this year's Matrics face additional stressors on top of the regular challenges associated with Matric finals, they should know that there are more additional resources than ever before to ensure they complete their final year of school as well as possible.
"Now is the time to assess your performance to date – possibly based on your preliminary exams if your school wrote them – and see how much ground you still need to cover before exams start. And very importantly, learners need to draw up a comprehensive study schedule and stick to it. Don't just get up every morning and wing it. You have to keep track every day to ensure you stay on schedule, and if you are not, you need to adapt your approach."
Ntshinga says Matrics need to come to terms with the fact that things will feel strange in the exam room, so that they are fully prepared and not distracted by the logistics, such as writing while wearing a mask.
"Taking control now for your own performance is the most powerful approach to take. And remember that there are many people and organisations out there from where you can obtain additional support if you need it. By claiming your focus, you can and will make a positive difference to your results," he says.
It is also worth remembering that the way learning happens now is the way it is likely to be for some time still.
"Even when going into higher education next year, there is likely to still be restrictions and safety precautions in place, so don't waste precious energy fretting about the unusual nature of things, and rather embrace the situation and hone your independent learning skills."
Ntshinga says learners can access additional help and resources quite easily in the following places:
- WEBSITES OF PROVINCIAL AND NATIONAL EDUCATION DEPARTMENTS
"There are some excellent resources available in the public sector, including study and revision advice, past papers, exam dates and concept lists for specific subjects. Remember that it doesn't matter where you live, you can access the advice on the websites of other provincial departments as well."
- HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
"Institutions such as The IIE's Varsity College, Rosebank College and IIE MSA have gone all out to ensure they provide additional assistance to Matrics, such as through bootcamps, subject revision, past paper provision and so forth. Contact an institution near you to hear about any additional Matric support they provide, or follow them on social media to receive regular updates and support."
- GENERAL ONLINE RESOURCES
"There is a wealth of advice freely available on the internet that can help you with your studies. Just be sure to access information from a reputable and credible source."
Ntshinga says that while everyone must remain vigilant about the virus by maintaining the necessary social distancing and safety protocols, learners must push on with positivity and work toward the future.
"Everyone is aware of the unique challenges facing this year's Matrics, so it is important not to panic but rather to exert control within your sphere of influence – your own mindset. Even though the current circumstances are difficult, there is a wealth of support available, and even if you are not yet on track, you have enough time if you start right now to make a success of your final year."
Diversity is vital in the workplace. It has various benefits for both the individual and the organisation. If you are looking to go into the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, here are some tips to help you do so successfully. It is essential to do your research and choose a qualification that suits your plans and abilities. Information Technology (IT) has long been a career that is popular among males, we have, however, seen a slight change - with more and more females studying towards a qualification in this sector.
A study by Women in Tech ZA found that only 23% of tech jobs are held by women in South Africa – out of the 236,000 ICT roles. We at IIE Rosebank College believe more and more women should enter this dynamic sector. We have also found that IIE graduates with an IIE IT qualification find employment quickly.
We spoke to Lunga Nkambule, a Senior ICT Support Technician employed at IIE Rosebank College in Port Elizabeth to provide some words of wisdom to young women wanting to pursue a career in IT.
Why did you choose to go into IT?
IT is a diverse field that engages the mind, offers opportunities to learn continuously, and I love the way technology enhances and improves the lives of individuals and businesses alike - that's what intrigued me. I love technology and the many opportunities and benefits it brings with it. I believe that following your passion ultimately leads to loving what you do – so I followed my passion.
What does a day in the life of an IT professional look like?
My day involves daily server checks, reporting, and attending to student and staff IT queries. It is essential to provide feedback to the business' stakeholders on how the technology is running and suggest any improvements. My role is exciting as I engage with different people, and I get to make a difference and improve their day - this makes each day worthwhile.
What challenges do you face in your job?
Each day is different; there are always unexpected situations. Technology can throw curve balls at times, as an IT professional, you need to think on your feet and act accordingly. I deal with challenges calmly as I understand the dynamic nature of the industry, and I can adapt quickly – adapting and agility are some of my strengths. I embrace each day and grow from every situation.
How do you keep yourself relevant as IT is forever changing?
I love learning, and I am inquisitive, so I believe I am in the right industry. To keep relevant and improve my troubleshooting skills, I use YouTube, StackOverflow and SpiceWorks. No woman is an island, to stay motivated, I consult colleagues and other IT professionals. I believe in learning and growing together.
Do you have women who work in IT that you look up to?
I look up to both men and women, as I believe we each bring something unique to the table. I look up to most of my colleagues, Zakes Matshiakgotshi and Bekezela Mhlanga because of their humility, their willingness to assist and the path they have walked to hold their senior positions in their respective brands.
What advice would you give a young lady wanting to study IT?
Develop a thick skin and find something in the IT field that you enjoy and focus on mastering your craft and staying relevant. Be comfortable with the idea of not knowing everything and have a desire and curiosity to find solutions outside of the box. Never break yourself down for situations you cannot control, instead remain calm, positive and open-minded.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about massive shifts both locally and internationally for all media owners. The new normal, as it is termed, means that creativity, agility and adaptability should be at the forefront for businesses as well as individuals who are looking to get employed.
Media stakeholders have had to adapt and reinvent their strategies. Cinevation is no different. Cinevation is a female-owned media powerhouse, started in 1997, by Marisa Torrani and Karen Bailey. Both ladies are ambitious and passionate about entrepreneurship, media and customer service. They thrive on offering the best solutions to their clients.
Marisa and Karen believe in seeing opportunities where others may see challenges. Both ladies used to work for an agency, working on well-known brands such as Coca Cola and more. They saw an opportunity to combine their experience and skills to package media and production to service both SMEs and corporates. Agility and a diverse offering are what set them apart.
We wanted to find out what this award-winning agency's recipe for survival is, to inspire graduates and entrepreneurs who want to go into media.
What does it take to make it in this sector?
Understanding media is the first step. This can be reading, researching and talking to people with experience in the industry to stay fresh and relevant. Endurance, patience and grit are also an advantage as a career in media often involves long working hours and tight deadlines. A mentor is essential to assist with keeping one grounded and navigating the world of work. The internet has made life easier as information is now easily accessible.
What challenges have you faced, and how did you overcome them?
We are entrepreneurs at heart, so we understand that challenges are part of owning a business. We have faced, and overcome, many challenges over the years. We adapt, re-engineer and move on. I believe that what has kept us going is our strong partnership. Our strength lies in the fact that our skills and personalities are different, yet so complimentary. We balance each other. Our friendship has never interfered with our vision – to see our business, staff and clients succeed.
How do you keep your business current?
It is critical to stay in touch with local and international media trends. Serving on boards, reading on the industry and attending industry events has been a winning formula for Cinevation. Karen serves on the board of the Advertising and Media Association of South Africa (AMASA). AMASA's purpose is to educate the media industry, and Karen loves empowering people. Being part of the board also keeps her connected with senior industry players and exposes her to changing media trends.
Cinema is a big part of our business. To keep abreast of changes in Cinema, we are part of the Screen Advertising Worldwide Association (SAWA). SAWA is an organization of cinema media owners and affiliated companies from around the world. This enables us to stay in touch with what is happening internationally, giving us the edge to stay relevant and on-trend for our clients.
Zanele Zulu, an IIE Rosebank College alumni, has a fighting spirit and her passion for life and getting things done, always inspires. She is also an entrepreneur who will have to pick up and move past the COVID-19 pandemic. She shares some insights on how she will take her business forward.
HOW HAS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS?
Pre-COVID 19, I was preparing to share some exciting news regarding the growth of my brand. Due to the pandemic, I have had to put my plans on hold and rethink the way forward. Luckily, winter was not the best time for events – I had the opportunity to realign my strategies to the new norm. Thankfully I did not have the added stress of paying salaries as I still work alone. The time will come for me to employ others.
IT MIGHT TAKE A WHILE BEFORE LIFE GOES BACK TO WHAT WE ARE USED TO, ESPECIALLY WITH EVENTS. WHAT IS YOUR PLAN GOING FORWARD TO KEEP YOUR PASSION ALIVE?
I have used this time to do my research and fuel my fire by reading more and listening to business podcasts. I have also had the time to explore my new venture, Enhle Beauty. Being at home has afforded me the opportunity to findnew beauty remedies and hairstyles to create magic for my clients when the time is right, and it is safer to do so.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO AN ASPIRING ENTREPRENEUR?
Everyone’s journey is different. Be intentional about your passion and what you want to achieve. Never dismiss your craft and do not compare your step two with someone else’s step 15. Run your own race and take calculated risks. Also know and understand that sometimes you will have to put some plans on hold and in some cases come up with a new idea. Innovation and diversification are the order of the day.
Up until a few months ago, learning online was a choice. An individual could choose to study full-time, part-time, online or choose a combination of online and face-to-face, also known as blended learning. The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the move to online teaching and learning, which brings with it a world of opportunities and challenges.
IIE Rosebank College believes in the value of online learning to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing between educators and students. “Producing world-class IIE graduates is our mission. We believe skills such as online collaboration can prepare students for the new world of work”, says Adrian Garden, Teaching and Learning Manager at IIE Rosebank College.
At IIE Rosebank College, we have long embraced online teaching and learning for our IIE Distance Learning and blended learning students. Most full-time IIE qualifications include an online module empowering our full-time students to also collaborate and learn online. A fundamental tool to support this experience is the Blackboard-based Learning Management System (LMS), called RCLearn.
What is Blackboard?
Blackboard is a Learning Management System (LMS) that can be used for teaching and learning online or in a blended environment. It encourages collaborative learning and knowledge sharing proving that education can be both versatile and flexible.
How does it work?
The IIE LMS content is designed to encourage 21st century skills. Students engage with the content, their lecturers and each other using designated tools within the LMS platform to support learning. These tools include discussion forums, wikis, blogs and journal entries. Another feature of Blackboard is Blackboard Collaborate, in which participants do not meet face-to-face but rather interact, collaborate and communicate online. Lectures and assessments also happen online.
Benefits of using the Blackboard App
Using Blackboard has many advantages, such as collaborative learning and the ability to study while off-campus. Given the cost of data in South Africa, we found the offline capability of Blackboard quite impressive. The offline content feature empowers students to download course content while online, and then to continue working while offline, using the downloaded material. The auto-sync feature enables downloads to be updated the next time there is an online connection. In addition to viewing downloaded course content offline, one can navigate some portions of the Blackboard App without an active network connection. These include assignment due dates and announcements.
Online learning is convenient and has an element of collaboration encouraging students to acquire soft skills such as teamwork, creativity and problem-solving. IIE graduates from Rosebank College attest to the benefits of studying online.
Saving is a lifestyle choice. Like most things, saving takes practice and discipline. The Savings Institute of South Africa has designated July on the South African calendar as “Savings Month”, to promote a culture of saving in South Africa.
Deciding to further your studies after high school is not only complicated; it can be costly too. It is essential to choose the right qualification to fit your abilities, personality and passion. It is even more critical to select a registered higher education provider to ensure that your money is well spent.
Saving hacks for higher education:
Planning is everything. Apply early to secure your place. Some tertiary providers offer early-bird discounts for learners who apply early. The internet is a good starting point to compare tuition fees, check the registration status of institutions and the accreditation of qualifications. The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) websites are good sources of information for aspiring tertiary students.
Compare modes of learning
There are some cost differences when it comes to modes of learning. Modes such as online and blended learning are, in most cases, more affordable than traditional face-to-face studies. Compare modes and fees from various institutions to make sure you are getting good value for your money.
Take note of additional costs
Textbook costs are often a pain point when it comes to your tertiary studies. Some tertiary providers include textbooks in their tuition fees. This can be a significant saving on your tertiary education costs. Do your homework and make sure that you are comparing apples with apples before committing.
To ensure that you are making the right choice, verify all information directly with the institution or the relevant regulatory body e.g. the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
According to research, the most sought-after skills for the future will be creativity, emotional intelligence and project management. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has catapulted everything forward and pushed the world out of its comfort zone. The future is now.
It is essential to reflect on one's career - your current skills versus the skills set you will need. Check how you can fill the gaps to remain employable during and beyond the pandemic. Some principles stay the same. Hard work and the right attitude are always at the top of the list, whether you are running your own business or working for someone else. Most other skills can be taught or learnt.
We spoke to the owner of SR Promotions, Shireen Farinha, a hard-working and inspiring entrepreneur. She is an inspiration to individuals young and old and is known for fantastic customer experience. Her commitment to making sure her clients are happy is what has made her business stand out and thrive in the competitive corporate gifting and printing sector.
She is an employer in her own right and offers the following advice for graduates looking to find employment.
Experience is useful in today's fast-paced world of work. As a graduate, you will not have the experience you require. However, an excellent way to gain experience is to start with holiday jobs and part-time work while you are still studying. You could also volunteer your time to gain experience. This will ensure that you begin building a network you will surely need along with your career.
A formal qualification is always an advantage as it formalises your craft and skills. Make sure you get a qualification from an accredited provider to ensure that your hard-earned money is well spent and can serve you in the future.
Understanding the industry you work in, or aspire to work in, is vital. It gives one insight into the target audience, clients, competitors and the needs of the market. In this way, you can provide the right products and services at the right time. Today's graduates are fortunate to have the internet. You have a world of information available at your fingertips - use it and stay relevant.
Honesty and Trustworthiness
There are certain skills you cannot teach or learn. Trusting someone with your business and your clients is a big deal. This requires trust and commitment from both parties. It is essential to showcase your character in an interview so that your traits are evident.