The Gradstar Gala Awards Dinner was held at the Indaba Hotel, and it turned out to be a very swish affair! Gradstar flew all 100 finalists to Joburg and paid for their accommodation.
They were given over the period of four days, workshops, coaching and mentoring from the sponsoring employers. So what did the Boston students have to say?
Gabisile from Soweto told us that this has been a life-changing experience and she can’t wait to get back to campus and share what she has learnt
Nthabiseng from Germiston said the same, and she is actually going to be a Gradstar ambassador going forward!
So while they were not selected for the top 10, getting into the top 100 out of 8000 was an enormous achievement!
Our two finalists were surprised and thrilled that a Boston director, senior manager and I were there to share their success – it meant a lot to them.
I could see why they got to the top 100 – very articulate, engaging and dynamic young ladies.
(We would like to acknowledge the selection in the top 100 of Jennisha from Umhlanga, even though she couldn’t come to Joburg due to a family emergency.)
Attendees heard an inspiring address by Hennie Heymans, the CEO of DHL Express, the lead sponsor of Gradstar.
Eric Albertini, COO of Future Fit Academy, head of the judging panel, explained the criteria they used throughout this whole process of assessment, to select future leaders who can ‘disrupt’, and not only survive but thrive in the ever-changing world and workplace – it’s mostly about ‘being’ (this will sound familiar to some of you!)
The audience enjoyed entertainment by Simmy, then all 100 finalists were called up and given a certificate before the top 10 were announced.
And then we left – but the youngsters partied on! Although Gabisile told us they had a workshop starting at 07:00 the next day ….
South Africa’s youth bear the burden of the country’s unemployment burden
While the unemployment rate rose an unexpected 0,6%, South Africa is still facing a mass unemployment crisis, with 44.1% of the labour force without work in the second quarter. This is testament to the fact the country’s jobless rate is highest of 82 nations monitored by Bloomberg.
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey released on Tuesday shows 8 million jobless people still searching for jobs, an increase from 7.9 million in Q1. Additionally, there are 3.6 million discouraged workers and 700 000 South African’s who have stopped their job search for other reasons.
Stats for SA youth
“The recently released stats highlight the fact that South Africa’s youth are bearing the brunt of the unemployment burden,” says Ari Katz, CEO Boston City Campus.
Youth aged 15-24 and 25 -34 recorded the highest unemployment rates of 61,4% and 41,2% respectively. Approximately 3,7M (35,7%) out of 10,2 M young people aged 15-24 years were not in employment education or training (NEET). This means that more than 1 out 0f 3 young South Africans between these ages were disengaged with the labour market, precluding them from gaining experience or further skills and perpetuating intergenerational poverty.
The NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) rate, seen in conjunction with high youth unemployment rate of over 60%, suggests that the youth face extreme difficulties engaging with the labour market in South Africa.
“Companies and institutions need to actively participate in providing and sourcing gainful employment for these youth” says Katz. “We need to be as proactive and as active as possible. We at Boston have an entire department dedicated to coaching, mentoring and assisting students who are in the job-seek space. Students and graduates have a gap in exposure to workplace behaviours and they need extra input in order to secure great jobs!”
Jobs in demand
CareerJunction reported that year-on-year, hiring activity has increased by 23% between June 2021 and June 2022. However, we need to be cognisant of which skills are in demand when we choose a qualifcation.
Vacancies over 2022, show these sectors as the most highly sought after: Finance Sales IT Business & Management Manufacturing & Assembly Admin, Office & Support Building & Construction,.
According to Stats SA, Graduates faired better in the workplace environment with the graduate unemployment rate at 10.2%,
Graduates need a holistic set of skills – both in terms of their field of expertise, technical know-how to participate in an increasingly digitised work environment and also so called soft skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving, self-discipline and time management.
Recent data from Boston Consulting Group reports that “there is more than 50% of a skills mismatch between the current South African workforce and the demands of the work environment.” This means that we need to be careful when choosing a qualification, but also that we need to adopt a mindset of lifelong learning and upskill even if we are in a job, to remain relevant.
“Skills mismatch (where graduates don’t have the skills to meet the demand, or find themselves in a job where they can’t perform because they have inappropriate skills) is a key contributing factor to the jobless crisis,” says Katz. “It is essential for tertiary institutions to have direct communication and interaction with the workplace, so as to create an efficient ecosystem that supplies matching skills to quality jobs in order to build our economy and stimulate graduate entry into the workplace.”
This requires a reciprocal interaction by education and private business – where corporations manage training programming and upskilling their employers so that education is informed.
“Additionally, government need to take the necessary steps to improve the responsiveness of education and training and academic institutions to develop the necessary qualifications to facilitate skills delivery and meet the evolving needs of the business environment,” says Katz.
Covid-19 has accelerated the digitization of 4IR, bringing with it an increased demand for tech related jobs and the emergence of new jobs resulting from pandemic induced changes in our lives and the workplace. This has resulted in a double disruption scenario for workers who have to deal with the combined impact of these new demands.
LinkedIn Weighs in on Most in-demand jobs
According to LinkedIn, tech roles continue to be in high demand to meet the workplace digital transformation catalysed by the health crisis. This has seen a rise in demand for web development and engineering roles related as businesses develop further infrastructure to accommodate remote working, while meeting the increased demand of online shopping.
With vaccine distribution, LinkedIn data has seen a significant spike in the need for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and nurses
Most in-demand jobs in SA
Locally, according to the latest CareerJunction Index, South Africa mirrors the LinkedIn job trends. This has seen a similar uptake in the demand for medical and health professionals, sales, marketing, architecture and engineering over the first few months of this year.
Significant online demand indicates positive employment trends. The IT, business & management and finance sectors are undoubtedly the most sought-after sectors, followed by the sales, admin, office & support and architecture & engineering sectors, among others listed.
Tertiary institution work recruitment programmes
McKinsey reports that consumers have moved dramatically toward online channels, and companies and industries have responded in turn with a rapid shift toward interacting with customers through digital channels. This is translating into a demand for skills including tech, IT, web development graphic design, cyber security and more.
Despite the slowdown in demand and the record unemployment, there are certain industries which are showing an uptick in demand, with graduates benefitting as a result.
The Work-integrated Learning (WIL) Programme at Boston Media House is part of the work recruitment programme. WIL is a practical experiential learning programme, where final year students complete 80 working hours as part of their qualification. In turn this prepares graduates for the workplace.
The work recruitment programme has seen demand growing for final years and graduates for paid internships, providing insight into the current jobs in demand. The main areas are (overwhelmingly) in television, then digital/social media marketing, followed by advertising, and graphic design. In animation, the demand outweighs supply of available skills.
The demand has 7 companies this year wanting Boston final year students for paid WIL internships, some wanting as many as 10 and 25 students from different courses.
Future of work
Digital adoption has taken a quantum leap of up to 5 years, transforming the jobs which are in demand.
While the automation of the 4IR is set to create a global job loss of as many as 85 million jobs, this will be counteracted by the creation of 97 million new jobs, according to the World Economic Forum.
CareerJunction has seen a lower demand in jobs than 12 months ago indicating the impact of COVID19 related restrictions on the local labour market. According to Stats SA, the latest unemployment number for the fourth quarter of 2020 show that the unemployment rate has reached 32.5% – the highest since the start of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey in 2008.
However, the adoption and growth of the digital environment means that new roles are developing throughout the world, which in turn means investing in both our students and employees to prevent their redundancy as a result of digital migration of businesses.
As institutions responsible for supplying talent to meet the demands of the workplace, tertiary recruitment programmes can play a significant role in transforming the employment crisis by bridging digital gaps, boosting the economy and helping to facilitate employment opportunities to reduce the escalation of South Africa’s current unemployment dilemma.
According to the latest stats released by Stats SA for Q1 2019, unemployment impacts most heavily on South Africa’s youth in the 15 -24 age group, with the youth in this age group experiencing an unemployment rate of 55.2 %. Graduates fared better than their non-graduate peers, with an unemployment rate of 31,0% during this period. However, compared to the graduate unemployment rate of 19.5% for Q4 of 2018, the graduate unemployment rate increased 11,4 percentage points quarter-on-quarter.
“However, as Stats SA points out, the graduate unemployment rate is still lower than the rate among those with lower educational levels, meaning that education remains key to these young people’s prospects’ improving in the South African labour market,” states Ari Katz, CEO of Boston City Campus..
“Graduation emerges as the best indicator of successful employment in the workplace. This is evident when comparing the statistics of youth in the 15 – 24 year old category with an unemployment rate of graduates at 31 % while youths who have other tertiary qualifications, a matric and less than a matric have an unemployment rate of 47,5%, 55%, and 58,4%, respectively,” states Katz.
Stats SA reports that the burden of unemployment is concentrated amongst the youth (aged 15–34 years), accounting for 63,4% of the total number of unemployed persons.
This means that almost 4 in 10 young people in the labour force are without a job, with the unemployment rate within this group at 39,6% in the 1st quarter of 2019. Just under 30% of the youth have jobs and about half of them (48,8%) participate in the labour market.
“Education levels, a stable economy and labour market are key factors which can contribute to alleviating unemployment in South Africa. In turn, this will enable households to achieve economic stability,” says Katz.
Using these stats as motivation, Boston Has created a unique programme in the education market. Called Graduate Support Services, it includes a process to follow starting at the graduate’s branch and following through the HOD of the support programme. “The intention is to provide a number of practical steps for the graduate to follow, hand-holding if you will, to assist the graduate step by step to eventual successful job placement. “ In fact “, says Katz, “ we believe in this programme, together with our quality education to such an extent, that should the graduate who has adhered to all our T’s and C’s and all our recommendations and still not find a successful placement, we will give the graduate a postgraduate scholarship.”
“Living in a household where the head has attained some tertiary education reduces the average risk of poverty by about 30 percent compared to those living in households where the head has no schooling,” says the report which states that poverty also tends to be a more temporary phenomenon for those with higher labor market earnings.
“The World Bank’s report emphasis on education, echoes that of Stats SA,” says Katz. “Supporting opportunities to provide tertiary education is the responsibility of government and all educational institutions. Additionally, tertiary educational institutions need to implement specific programmes such as the Boston Graduate Support Services Programme, which facilitate graduate’s employment in the workplace.”
“Our youth need to be equipped to maximise workplace opportunities. As educators we can further equip them with entrepreneurial skills, where our graduates are groomed in leadership, enabling them to start new businesses while contributing to the creation of new employment opportunities which sets up a virtuous cycle of job creation,” concludes Katz.
Boston’s Graduate+ Programme aims to further job placement security for graduates
Known for its innovation and high academic standards, Boston City Campus and Business College is introducing a new first in tertiary education in South Africa.
As one of South Africa’s leading academic institutions, Boston City Campus and Business College focuses on a well-rounded education, both academically and practically.
From January 2019, Boston students will be further supported through the introduction of the new Graduate+ Programme. This innovative programme emphasises the confidence that Boston and the market have placed in the high quality of its qualifications. Because of this, Boston guarantees that the Boston graduate:
Will find employment;
Boston will provide assistance in helping the student to find employment;
Boston will provide complementary further studies to enhance the graduate’s employability;
Boston will provide the graduate with R50,000.
“The Graduate+ Programme is part of the Boston ethos of putting our students at the centre of our educational offering. We want our students to know that they are supported through the entire process of getting a qualification. From the first day of their studies right through to completion and finding a job, Boston will support the student to ensure that he/she has the requisite knowledge, skills, and attitude to tackle the market and be equipped for the 4th Industrial revolution,” says Boston CEO Ari Katz, who believes in providing a personalised learning experience, meeting the educational and work environment needs of each student.
This is facilitated through top academic instruction, accompanied by the opportunity to develop practical skills by exposing students to real workplace environments, enabling students to differentiate themselves in the competitive workplace market.
To this end, the institution’s rigorous academic programmes are reinforced by a combination of academic support and experience in the corresponding industry through Boston’s dynamic Work Integrated Learning Programme.
“Students need to be equipped with workplace skills. Applying their academic knowledge in a real-life context gives them a practical learning environment to do just that,” says Katz about the practical programme, which also teaches students how to go out there and get a job in their particular industry.
Students are kept informed about the latest developments in their particular field, both from their studies and through their workplace opportunities.
Additionally, because the academic institution’s exacting standards are in line with international educational requirements, Boston has been accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC). This provides students with a gateway to studies at international institutions and work opportunities.
For these reasons, Boston’s confidence in their courses is such that qualifications are now underpinned by the Graduate+ Programme, as further support to assist students in succeeding in the workplace.
This is a unique offering and the very first of its kind in Southern Africa!
Eligible Boston graduates will have to meet the necessary academic criteria and ensure that they pass each year, completing their qualification in the requisite time frame.
“Boston qualifications aim to produce individuals who have an education and are also job-ready”, explains Katz. “Graduates are prepared with training that puts them in a position to walk straight out of their studies and into a job. Our focus is on incorporating Work Integrated Learning into all degrees and higher education, enabling our students to develop the necessary skills,” says Katz about the programme, which is geared to help students secure employment and achieve financial independence. To this end, Boston also offers courses in financial independence to all students at no extra cost.
“The new Graduate+ Programme is a further investment in our students’ futures. We are very excited to offer the programme as a testament to our confidence in the standard of Boston qualifications,” says Katz.
“We want our students to know that they are supported throughout their studies. They can rest assured in their future security of finding employment and achieving financial independence after graduating from our tertiary institution,” concludes the Boston CEO.
Whether you are just starting out in your job search or looking to upgrade your current position, applying effective strategies can help make your search easier.
Wondering just where to start? Branch Manager of Boston City Campus, Maponya Mall, Merriam Koqo‑Hlengane provides her top tips on conducting an effective job search.
Setting time aside
Create momentum by allocating a specific amount of time for research, setting up appointments and following up on applications.
“Prepare the night before, setting up your list, so that you create an organized infrastructure allowing you to start right away,” says Koqo‑Hlengane who suggests setting targets for the number of calls and appointments you want to achieve.
Anticipate that there may be some challenging times, when you may experience frustration because things aren’t moving as quickly as you would like. See this time as a process. Some days may be relatively quiet. Be gentle with yourself, knowing that ups and downs are a natural part of job searching. The most important thing is to take action, keep the momentum going and have faith in yourself.
Think of people who are already in your network and who would be able to make any recommendations where you can apply. Former colleagues, managers or people from graduate school should all have some ideas. (Boston itself has a consulting office created to assist graduates in job searches). Try LinkedIn and see who you can contact digitally.
“LinkedIn is also an excellent place to find jobs in your particular field. A LinkedIn profile can serve as a good advertisement of your competencies and experience to prospective employers and HR managers,” says Koqo‑Hlengane.
Your online footprint
It is common practice for future employees to research your online profile in order to find out more about you. A LinkedIn profile can enhance someone’s impression of you. The flip side of the coin is true as well – ensure your online social media profiles would be acceptable to a potential employer.
The Covering letter
Once you find a job or company where you want to apply, create a covering letter, highlighting your key qualities and experience in relation to the particular job specifications.
Where to look
Google is your friend when it comes to your job search. Keywords such as your industry + the position you are looking for will bring up specific sites dealing with your particular field and offering relevant positions.
“Searching online helps you to get to know the job market and what is being offered out there,” says Koqo‑Hlengane. “It can also help you to see if you need to brush up on any skills. Take the appropriate steps to increasing your eligibility in finding your ideal position.”
What are you offering?
Write down your skills: soft skills such as having a strong work ethic, being a team player, solution orientated, communication and adaptability and love of learning. Note your strengths – professional competencies in which you excel and which can make you an ideal candidate.
Whether you are just starting out or if you are looking to take the next step in your career, it is important to sustain your relevancy in your industry through continuous learning. There are many short courses or even additional degrees or post-graduate diplomas to such as a Postgraduate Diploma in Management which can be studied part-time and which can set you on a career path of success.
Prepare for your interview
Prepare mentally for your interview by going over the possible questions and seeing yourself answering them. You can even do a mock interview with a colleague or friend, helping you to be more prepared and more relaxed in the actual interview situation.
You have to know that you are going to get Yes’s and No’s. Prepare yourself –you need to persevere.
“Make this into a learning experience,” says Koqo‑Hlengane. Always try to get feedback if things don’t work out – it helps you grow professionally and personally.
Keep on. Face the challenges. Be flexible. If a strategy isn’t working, then maybe you need to adjust it. Eventually, you are going to find your match. You’ve got this!” Concludes the Boston Branch Manager.