The world of work in the 21st century requires a multi-skilled and self-sufficient labour force. Higher education institutions are expected to fulfil the growing need for students and graduates to be work-ready when they enter the job market. More than ever before, graduates are expected to compete and flourish in a rapidly changing economy, while also actively and creatively seeking to contribute to knowledge production in society.
A degree is no longer enough to guarantee you employment or a satisfying career. More and more companies are looking for work-ready graduates with job-specific skills – over and above academic qualifications – with which they can start making a difference. To have a competitive advantage in the job market, students and graduates therefore need to develop better employability or work-readiness skills throughout their time at university.
Against this background, the Career Services of the University of Pretoria (UP) and Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises UP) launched a ready-for-work initiative. Graduate employability is very important to the University and giving its students and alumni a boost when it comes to succeeding in the world of work is what sets UP apart from the rest.
The Ready for Work Programme was specifically designed to equip students and graduates of UP with the requisite skills and attributes to help them integrate into the world of work more easily, and includes skills and knowledge that not only enhance your professional and personal profile, but also assist you in making a meaningful contribution to the workforce, your community and the economy while being successful in your chosen career.
The Ready for Work Programme consists of four course packages, all of which focus on career planning, job preparation and workplace skills. All modules in the first three packages are free, self-paced, and are presented fully online. The fourth package, focusing on specialised skills, consist of online courses and face-to-face workshops that are available at a nominal fee.
The Career Planning Package aims to assist you in planning a successful career and enhancing your job satisfaction. This package will help you choose a career, create a career plan, select potential employers that best suit your overall career goals, engage in activities to enhance your CV and learn the basics of entering the workplace.
As part of the Job Preparation Package, you are provided with information to assist you in looking for job opportunities, realising the importance of digital profiling and emphasising the skills you need when seeking job prospects.
The Workplace Skills Package provides skills to help you follow instructions more accurately, become aware of what is allowed in the workplace and how to communicate professionally with all stakeholders. Workplace skills are more general than job-specific skills and can be applied regardless of your chosen profession.
The Specialised Skills Package goes beyond the basics, with various targeted courses that will allow you to perform more specialised workplace or day-to-day tasks. The face-to-face workshops that are part of this package are presented during the UP recesses in April and July.
Entrepreneurship is another important skill that provides students and graduates with an opportunity for self-employment, while simultaneously promoting employability and job creation. Requisite entrepreneurial skills are seen as a driver of change in seeking self-sufficiency and job creation. Therefore, in addition to the Ready for Work Programme, students can also enrol for the free online Entrepreneurship Programme (a Professional Online Development short course) that forms part of the ready-for-work initiative.
Through this initiative, UP and Enterprises UP are taking much-needed steps to equip all students with empowering and life-enhancing skills to successfully move from an academic setting to the work domain by applying essential and specialised skills to improve their prospects for employability.