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VUT interview: Ms Annie Moletsane

VUT interview: Ms Annie Moletsane

We recently chatted to the Vaal University of Technology Director of Co-operative Education,

Ms Annie Moletsane.

How long have you been with VUT?
21 years

Tell us a little about your department?
I have been with the department for 19 years.  Co-operative Education department (Career Centre) with the assistance of the Student Counselling and support department (Career Service) plays an important role in student preparation for the world of work from their first year to ensure that the student has a smooth transition to the workplace.  In addition our department is in constant contact with companies to ensure that our students have the required skills that the industry requires and that we work together in ensuring that our students have the best chance for placement.

How do you assist students and graduates?
Throughout the year we conduct Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and Employability awareness campaigns.  We develop an annual handbook for students on Graduate recruitment and development.  Our flagship career fair is held annually and this gives students an opportunity to interact directly with employers so as to understand what the employer is looking for in a candidate. In order to ensure that we are in constant communication with our students, we use Social media aggressively to communicate with our students on the latest developments from our department.

Why should graduates look at VUT to do their Post Graduate studies?
VUT is an excellent institution for any student to pursue their Post-graduation qualification.  With 50 years of the institutions existence, VUT has a long history of ensuring that every student’s needs are met.  In addition our lecturers offer personalized support and supervision to these students.

Do you work with employers and local businesses to find out their needs and the quality of graduates they would like?
Yes definitely, it is very important that we as an educational institution are made aware of what the pre-requisite skills that employers look for in a graduate.  We then try to develop them through various workshops and seminars.  Soft skills are what employer’s rate high in their search when recruiting.

Do you believe that University Career Centre’s should play a bigger role in preparing Graduates for the World of Work?
Yes, ideally every educational institution should have a Career Centre and at VUT, Co-operative Education serves as Career Centre which also assist Student counselling and support where graduates receive information and tools to further develop their skills.  Lecturers must also keep up to date with industry standards to tailor their courses so that they are actively preparing the students for on the job skills.

What skills do you believe graduates ideally need to possess?
I believe the 3 skills are:
1)    Application – applying your theoretical knowledge in the work environment – being able to successfully implement what you have learned is very important.
2)    Dress code – It is very important to observe the office culture especially when one is starting out their career
3)    Values and Principles – it is important to develop one’s Emotional Intelligence and develop a good work ethics.

Do you have a database of unemployed graduates?
We are currently in the process of developing a database of all our graduates each year to enable us to keep track of our students.

In your opinion, do you think graduates are unemployed or unemployable? What would you say from your experience that this would be in South Africa?
As a department we are in constant contact with employers trying to assess how best we can develop our graduates to meet the needs of the labour market. In my opinion I would say most of the graduates in SA are both unemployed and unemployable because they lack skills that employers are looking for.  In our country we have a huge mismatch of skills versus the demand for that particular skill or set of skills. Addressing the skills mismatch continues to remain a core focus of our department

So graduates have one chance to make a good impression, what would your advice be to these graduates to make themselves more employable?
Develop soft skills – some examples could include computer skills, written communication, emotional intelligence etc. Also very important is to learn about the company culture, if possible read the company manual or HR guidelines if available.  You can learn allot about the company from the internet and their website.  This also shows the company that you have also taken the initiative to be part of their company. If you have been successful and have been offered position within the company always remember, “When at work, focus on work”, put your best foot forward at all times.  Show dedication!

Vaal University of Technology –

Vanderbijlpark Campus
Private Bag X021 – Vanderbijlpark – 1911
Andries Potgieter Blvd – South Africa
Tel: +27(0)16 950 9000 – Fax: +27(0)16 950 9999

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