Work-Integrated Learning (WIL), Work-Integrated Education (WIE) and Employment Readiness

The students at the institutions of learning are better advised to join the Work-Integrated Learning, Work-Integrated Education and Employment Readiness Programmes on arrival on campus, i.e. in their first year of studies. They should constantly participate throughout their studies. The programme is fast becoming core to all lines of studies across the globe.

The World Association of Cooperative Education (WACE) is the global organization advocating for Work-Integrated Learning and Work-Integrated Education integration in all degrees and diplomas. The aim is to make transition from the world of learning and education into the world of work seamless.

In South Africa we have the Southern African Society for Cooperative Education (SASCE) made of the academic and industry practitioners. It runs biannual continental conference called WIL Africa, to advance Cooperative Education and Work-Integrated Learning across the continent. SASCE and WACE work together on a number of initiatives, incluidng the annual WACE global conference that is hosted by different member universities.

The kind of programmes conducted under the programme must be relevant to the industries that are likely to absorb the graduates from the institutions of learning. They must be aimed at closing the gap between theory and practice during the whole period of studies.

General activities are organised and held on and off campuses by the Cooperative Education Departments of the Institutions, for example, industry visits, guest lectures by industry practitioners, visits to career fairs and exhibitions, industry specific workshops, seminars and conferences, on the job learning during the vacations, work readiness programmes like how to write curriculum vitae, how to apply for employment, how to conduct job interviews, how to research industry and companies suitable to the graduate’s dream career, etc.

For those institutions that have embraced the programme, partnership with the industry in offering P1 and P2 practical work is a natural practice. The training contributes credit points toward the qualification. The programme follows a well formulated integration of theoretical lectures and learning at the industry.

There are many reasons why the companies would partner with the institutions of learning and participate in the programmes. Among others, the opportunity for the learners to network with the industry practitioners, students given reliable sources of information in their career choices, companies source of recruitment of new talent, an acceptable standard of transitioning from the institutions of learning to the world of work, both the institutions and industry have interest in the graduates that are clear on why they chose the line of career they are following, and placement becomes successful as a result.

The above points bring us to the most important objective, namely employment readiness by the graduates. Employment Readiness Programme is extremely important, and requires special focus. How a graduate arrives at their first place of employment depends on their transition management and readiness level. This is their second toughest transition after transitioning from high school to the university/college.

There are many potential fault lines that require a mentor to assist the graduates to overcome. It is impossible without the guidance of a mentor to overcome this hurdle. It is the first time that the graduate will know if their choice of studies and career was spot on or not. They ought to have mastered the logical transition steps that include the basic tasks like identifying the industry and company to apply for the first employment, choice of the type of job, choosing the career direction, putting together convincing curriculum vitae, prepare for the job interview, shopping for appropriate corporate clothing, etc.

Arrival at the world of work is the beginning of huge personal responsibility. It is the beginning of a long journey into the corporate life. This journey, depending on the readiness level or lack thereof, can be good or bad one. It is at this point that the graduate and his sponsors (family or other funders) would want to confirm return on education investment.

The role of the mentor during the WIL and WIE period cannot be underestimated. It is absolutely necessary in this last mile of the graduate’s educational journey. The mentor should accompany the graduate during this critical phase of their holistic human capital development. The graduate must consider mentorship arrangement as a crucial investment, not an expense. The foundation on which to build corporate life must be solid.

3 Common Employment Law Questions Answered

Sometimes employment law can be difficult to comprehend. Here are three common work place situations and their legal ramifications.

1: DISMISSAL DUE TO ILLNESS

There are three potential areas of legal exposure:

· unfair dismissal;

· unlawful termination; and

· discrimination

From time to time an employee will have to leave your employment due to long term health issues. They may decide to resign or you may have to eventually consider dismissing them. It is beneficial to consider as many ways possible to help them back to work – dismissal should be a last resort and could be deemed unfair if not managed properly.

If continued employment is no longer achievable because there are no reasonable adjustments that can be made, it may be fair for you to dismiss them.

The Fair Work Act 2009 states that an employer must not dismiss an employee because the employee is temporarily absent from work due to illness or injury.

The Fair Work Regulation 2009 provides that it is not a “temporary absence” if the employees absence from work extends for more than 3 months, or the total absences of the employee, within a 12 month period, have been more than 3 months. The employer still requires a valid reason to dismiss the employee, even if the employee has been absent on unpaid leave for three months or over.

We suggest you ask the employee to provide medical information on his capacity for work and what support he might need to return to work.

2: EVIDENCE OF ILLNESS

You can insist on employees providing evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person that they are entitled to sick leave, for example, a medical certificate or statutory declaration. That being said there is no specific timeframe as the timeframe required is “as soon as practicable”.

For this reason you should devise a written policy that stipulates that your employees provide such information within a specific timeframe. Your policy should also specify that your employees inform their manager directly of their absence (when possible), or phone their manager within a certain timeframe to explain why they cannot make it to work and when they expect to return.

3: NOTICE OF REDUNDANCY

When dismissing an employee it is necessary to give them notice. The notice commences when the employer tells the employee that they want to end the employment. If you notify them of their redundancy just before leave, the time spent on annual leave will count towards their notice period.

Employment Success Tips – How to Contribute Your Knowledge and Skills at Work

Tip #1 – Collaborate When Asked

Team work is an essential component of success in any business endeavor. This is why it is essential that you learn how to collaborate with your peers and colleagues and practice it regularly.

Tip #2 – Always Be Early or On Time

When you’re late to a meeting, everyone notices, including your boss. This is why it is vital to be early or on time, so that you don’t stick out as a bad example.

Tip #3 – Think and Contribute Critically

When you’re at meetings or when a co-worker or boss asks for advice, think critically and try to make an important contribution. Don’t let the words go in one ear and other the other.

Tip #4 – Don’t Sit Quietly at Meetings

If you want to be successful in the workplace, you cannot sit passively at meetings. Instead, you must take charge and make comments. Get recognized; and make important contributions.

Tip #5 – Empathize with Co-Workers and Higher-Ups

Empathy is important. Getting it from others makes you feel wanted and cared for. And giving it to others will improve your status within the company. It will show people that they can come to you if others do not understand their position.

Tip #6 – Don’t Make Enemies

If you want to be successful in the workplace, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up locking horns with a few people on the way. However, at the end of the day, it is vital that you don’t take these disputes personally; and work hard to avoid making enemies.

Tip #7 – Generate High-Quality Work

At the end of the day, the quality of work that you produce will determine whether your boss thinks that you are barely fit to carry out your current job; or whether you are over-qualified and should be promoted.

Tip #8 – Share Your Work and Ideas with Others

If you have good ideas, then share them with others. Let your co-workers and bosses benefit from your insights. Occasionally, you might get no credit for this, but over time, the praise you receive here and there will help to improve your profile within the company.

Tip #9 – Be Honest with Follow Co-Workers and Higher-Ups

Above all else, honesty is an important quality in the workplace. Being honest with your co-workers and your boss means that they can trust you and come to you for advice in the future.

Tip #10 – Be a Self-Starter

One of the most clearly identifiable traits of successful individuals is their ability to self-start. Instead of needing to be pushed around by bosses, they take action immediately and accomplish tasks on their own. If you want to get promoted, you should also get in the habit of doing this.

How Employment Agencies Work

If you have any misunderstandings about the working of employment agencies, then it is time you cleared any misgivings you might have in your mind regarding their working. The little fee that you may or may not pay is really worth every penny and even more. Here is how a typical recruitment agency goes about with its chores.

  1. Big staffing agencies employ dozens of calling agents who have expert knowledge in locating talents around the world. Their principal sources of information are social media, news paper advertisements and people who contact them by word of mouth. The second source of information is applicants who approach the agency directly. Though it was the norm several years before to send in a CV by post, things have changed vastly nowadays with the advent of computers, internet and email.
  2. The second element in the working of any employment agency is maintaining a cordial relationship with employers, for which purpose agencies appoint agents too. They liaise with the employer and begin to study their requirements. Once a detailed study has been completed, the agency takes the permission of the employer to publicise their requirement to go on a head hunting spree on their behalf.
  3. The first place that recruiters look for information is the office database. Though most of the matching is done automatically by computers, it is not uncommon to tweak the final match manually. It is normal for agencies to recommend more than one applicant to the employer. The employer after receipt of information shortlists candidates they find fit. Now the deck is cleared for the agency to arrange a meeting between the employer and a prospective employee.
  4. Sometimes the process may become more complex, especially if the skills set expected of the candidate are very special. It can take several days or even weeks if a match is not available in the agency’s database. In such situation, the agency turns to the social media. They will list out applicants in job portals and even in social media like LinkedIn for example.
  5. The climax is the culmination of a meeting between the employer and applicant. During such meetings the agency represents itself through a report detailing the applicant’s claims and the documents he or she has presented before it.
  6. The crowing of the effort is the employer issuing a letter of appointment by the employer. Employment agencies take an active role in the preparation of contracts and other peripheral activities connected with it.

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