Bringing real-life work experiences to Senior Speech and Language Pathology Students
Understanding the importance of empowering students for life after graduation, University of Fort Hare Rehabilitative Sciences lecturer, Ms Khomotjo Kgare, in collaboration with the Professional Provident Society, recently invited speech therapy and audiology practitioners from the private and public sectors to share the ins and outs of the industry with senior Speech and Language Pathology students.
The engagement was organised as part of the Health Administration and Management module, an exit-level module taught to third-year students with the aim of developing their knowledge and understanding of the development and management of a speech-language therapy department, either in a public facility or private practice in the South African context.
From the private sector, the invitation was honoured by Ms Luanet White, a Speech Therapist & Audiologist with over 10 years of industry experience; Ms Hlumela Silimela, a Speech Therapist who recently went private; and Ms Constatia Mariri, who recently completed her community service at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital - Speech Therapy & Audiology OPD.
Explaining the motivation behind the applaudable initiative, Ms Kgare quoted the words of Alexander Graham Bell who said: “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
“Considering the unemployment rate that is also affecting health practitioners, we deemed it important for private practitioners to equip our students with the knowledge of how to start up and manage their own practices. The aim is to help avoid or reduce the likelihood of graduated SLPs staying home with their degrees whereas there is something they can do to earn an income and become potential employers.”
“Also, with community service being compulsory for SLPs, it was important to create this engagement to help our students with the transition from “being students” to the working world. For those who are planning to join the public sector, we regarded it necessary to bring in a speaker who has lived through the experience and expectations of working at a public hospital.”
The empowering session concluded with a presentation by Mr Cebo Jekana from PPS who discussed money matters and shared guidelines on how to make sound financial decisions and plan for the future when entering the job market.