TERTIARY TO EMPLOYMENT
at around 53%, and lowest for those with a tertiary qualification at around 8%,” she explains.
VS THE REAL WORLD
After graduation, the next step is to seek employment. New graduates are normally eager to put into practice what they have learnt. But, life outside varsity is different. According to Brandon Biyela, recruitment specialist from Pietermaritzburg, employers expect graduates to be efficient in communication, application of knowledge in real-world settings, complex problem solving, ethical decision making and work well in a team. “We are looking for graduates who are highly competitive and ready to be part of the workforce. Therefore, universities should ensure that their curriculum is in line with current workplace trends, and should expose students to practical real-life work experience while still studying. This makes it easy for employers to appoint suitable people, and even easier for graduates to be employable,” he says. Zikhona Sakhela, a 26-year-old graduate from the Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape, has been unemployed since completing her public affairs bachelor of administration degree in 2013. She is aware of the economic issues in the country and political instability that result to job scarcity. But, she attributes her struggle to her lack of work experience. “Employers are on the lookout for experienced employees who don’t need training,” she says. To avoid similar situations, institutions such as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), offer experiential learning or cooperative education.
This, according to CPUT’s cooperative education administrator, Nelisiwe Qokweni, is a philosophy of learning based on a partnership between the institution and work industries, whereby the common objective is to provide enhanced learning experience in the workplace. “In essence, this is a three-way partnership in which students alternate academic study with periods of work experience under the supervision of mentors and academic staff from the institution,” she explains. Ariane says basic education fails to provide enough skills and information that’s needed to progress into tertiary and into the labour market. “In addition to the problems that have their roots in the basic education sector, economic growth has been slow; it grew by 1.3% in 2017. Where growth has occurred, it has been in sectors such as agriculture and mining, and not all graduates find entry into those sectors due to limited capacity. Lastly, employers may be reluctant to hire graduates from institutions of higher learning that they perceive as offering lower quality education. So, it would be the
With the rapid rise of unemployed youth in South Africa, the question must be asked if institutions of higher learning are doing enough to prepare graduates for real life.