The Durban University of Technology (DUT) was applauded by industry stakeholders for being accessible and for its continued engagement with industry through various platforms facilitated by its Co-operative Education Department.
This emerged during the annual Industry Indaba which was hosted by DUT’s Co-operative Education Department at the Durban Exhibition Centre yesterday, (Tuesday)11 April 2018. The theme of this seminar was “Employability”, and it was attended by various industry stakeholders including government representatives.
Speaking during the discussion session of the seminar, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Public Service Training Academy, General Manager for Human Resource Development, Faizal Salfa commended DUT for hosting such an important event to facilitate engagement between industry and the University.
“Based on research that we have conducted as the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal, there is 54.9% of unemployment in KZN, and there is a serious shortage of opportunities for Work Integrated Learning (WIL) placements for students. There is a special need for us as social partners to collaborate and work together in addressing the issue of unemployment,” said Salfa.
Salfa said government has already set a target for their annual internships intake, and he implored industry and other stakeholders to do the same. “As government we have a target that at least 5% of our total workforce should be internships, but that is not enough and that’s why I would urge the industry to come to the part as well, “added Salfa.
Solomon Nkosi from the Dube Tradeport Corporation also praised DUT for its proactive approach in sourcing WIL opportunities for its students. “This is a testimony through the fact that more than 50% of our interns at Dube Tradeport are from DUT,” said Nkosi.
Dube Tradeport Corporation and DUT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) back in 2015. Some of the main areas of co-operation is centered on skills development, mentoring and experiential learning for both students and staff of DUT.
DUT’s Co-Operative Education Department, Director, Shakeel Ori thanked all industry partners and stakeholders who responded positively to the invitation to be part of this engagement platform. “Such platforms enable us to nurture partnerships with the industry, partnerships are important in the placement of students. This also gives us an opportunity to engage with you in order to understand your requirements as the industry,” said Ori.
Ori said research indicates that WIL increases chances of employment for students because most employers believe that students who have undergone WIL are better employees because they don’t require extensive training.
He also urged the industry to be more vocal on the calls by some Universities of Technology to drop WIL in some of their programmes. “You need to be more vocal on issues that affect the higher education sector because you are a critical stakeholder, and your views are very important,” said Ori.
There was also a presentation on the Employment Improvement Project (EIP) which aims to improve productivity for both staff and students at DUT. Another presentation was on the OLUMS which is an online management system that manages and tracks all aspects of WIL and placement of WIL students.
Pictured: Industry stakeholders attending the Industry Indaba hosted by DUT at the Durban Exhibition Centre yesterday (11 April 2018).