(Published - 11 July 2018)
In a world where the nature of work is changing ever faster, there can be a mismatch between the skills employers need and the skills graduates possess. But that’s certainly not true at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) - the University dominated the GradConnection Top 100 Future Leaders list for 2017.
“It’s a fantastic win, and these senior students are positive role models for our junior students,” says Winston Middleton, Student Development Manager at UWC. “It’s not very surprising, though: The University facilitates and provides multiple and varied opportunities for students, and motivates them to engage in co-curricular and extramural activities. And our students don’t take themselves for granted - they’re proud of where they’ve come from, and what they’ve achieved during their time at UWC.”
The GradConnection Future Leaders Awards recognise students based on their leadership qualities and workplace readiness, as well as academic excellence, involvement in student societies and community affairs.
As part of the online application, GradConnection selected students for their unique skills, knowledge and experience. Entrants had to:
- identify their ideal employer, and motivate why they wished to work for them;
- share their academic triumphs;
- spell out their co-curricular and extra-mural activities;
- demonstrate their desire to - and ability to - grow and develop;
- and show how they are making, or intend to make, a difference in their community or for society in general.
“Academic excellence was important, naturally, as well as a proven track record of leadership, and involvement in student societies and community affairs,” says Nazrana Parker of UWC Career Services.
“They also looked at the employability profile of the student - how well their previous experiences and studies prepared them for a graduate role at one of South Africa's top employers. Once again our students shone bright!”
Students from 20 universities made the Top 100 - and 22 of them came from UWC. Here they are, listed in alphabetical order:
- Angelique Cloete - BCom (information Systems)
- Bekithemba Ntoni - BA (Politics & Philosophy)
- Charmaine Ludolph - BCom (Economics & Accounting)
- Denzel Tyrel - BCom (Information Systems & Management)
- Jaun-Roche Bergman - BA (Psychology & Ethics)
- Jayson Thomas - BCom (Supply Chain & Marketing)
- Joel-Ross Richmond - BCom LLB (Law)
- Joshua MacArthur - BCom LLB (Business Management)
- Kamogelo Matjila - BSc (Computer Science & Information Systems)
- Lukhanyiso Matebese - BCom (Economics & Finance)
- Mandilakhe Msomi - BCom LLB (Law & Economics)
- Mmakoena Rammutla - BSc (Petroleum Geology & Geographical Information Systems)
- Nangamso Mwanda - BCom (Industrial Psychology & Information Systems)
- Olwethu Nkonzo - BCom (Marketing & Economics)
- Rabia Samuels - BCom (Accounting)
- Riedwaan Fakier - BCom (Information Systems & Management)
- Sandisele Mtandana - BCom (Finance)
- Sisa Foloti - BCom (Information Systems & Finance and Investments)
- Siyamthanda Ntlahla - BCom (Economic & Statistics)
- Tevin Tawamba - BCom (Economic & Statistics)
- Tshlamo Moleele - BSc (Geology)
- Viwe Manyifolo - BCom (Labour Relations)
In addition to showcasing their academic and experiential background, students were required to write short essays about themselves, and the future of leadership in the South African workplace (and beyond).
GradConnection provides participating employers - who represent the financial, accounting, IT, engineering and legal disciplines, amongst others - and graduates access to the most valuable resource: each other.
The Secret To Success: Student, Know Thyself
The competition will resume in 2019, giving a new crop of undergraduates the chance to shine.
For those keen on making the list next time, Middleton’s advice goes beyond the obvious - do well academically, have a proven track record of involvement in the co-curricular and extramural space on campus, and even in the local community, etc.
“Students who want to excel need to know themselves,” he says. “They must be keenly aware of who they are and what they want, and what they have to offer a prospective employer. They need to be able to share their own stories.”
Participation in co-curricular, extra-mural and leadership activities helps students to develop the following three critical skill sets:
- Foundational literacies (applying core skills to everyday tasks) of literacy and numeracy, scientific literacy, ICT literacy, financial literacy, and cultural and civic literacy
- Competencies in approaching complex challenges such as critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration; and
- Character qualities (how students approach their changing environments) such as persistence, adaptability, curiosity, and social and cultural awareness.
UWC’s Co-Curricular Record provides official acknowledgement that a student has, in fact, developed towards mastering the 21st century skills and mindset necessary for Industrial Revolution 4.0.
Middleton also advises students to visit Career Xplora, UWC’s online career portal where students can construct their job search documents, view job opportunities, practice interview skills...and much, much more.
“If you want to get the career you deserve, you need to plan for it, and work at it, and have the best information available,” he says. “And you don’t have to do all that on your own. We’re here to help.”