UFH Convocation empowers final-year students for life after graduation

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Concerned by the high rate of unemployed graduates in South Africa, the UFH Convocation held a student engagement session to empower final-year students for the journey after graduation.

The first-of-its-kind workshop was held on the 26th of September at the Alice Campus’ Green Auditorium. The engagement was organized by the University’s Institutional Advancement Department through its Alumni Affairs Office.

The brunt to find employment is heavily felt by young graduates. According to Stats SA, Youth in South Africa continue to be disadvantaged in the labour market with an unemployment rate higher than the national average. According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of 2022, the unemployment rate was 63,9% for those aged 15-24 and 42,1% for those aged 25-34 years

Convocation President, Adv Andile Mini said the statistics were worrisome.

“The University has a greater role to play in ensuring that we prepare our graduates for the challenges ahead, hence these kinds of initiatives are necessary,” said Adv Mini.

Influential speakers were lined up for the session, such as the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Zolile Williams; Ms Nomso Kana who is a Nuclear Scientist, Mr Trevor Ramncwana who is the Deputy Director for Public Employment at the Department of Employment and Labour and Psychologist & Career Counsellor, Dr James Munnik.

The first session was on communication and interview skills presented by Ms Vuyiseka Mboxela who is the spokesperson to the Eastern Cape’s MEC of Education and a member of the UFH Convocation. She stressed the importance of understanding effective communication and elements that prevent effective communication. Ms Mboxela also gave tips on how to project yourself during job interviews and how to communicate effectively in the workplace.

“You only get one opportunity to do an interview for a specific job. Make the first impression count,” she said.

Mr Actor Katurura who is the Executive Operations Manager in the University’s Registrar’s Office presented a session on Teamwork. Mr Katurura, an experienced Legal Academic by profession and an esteemed alumnus spoke highly of the significance of the power of teamwork, working in and for a team and developing team spirit.

In support of his presentation, Mr Katurura shared a few powerful stories including that of Ben Carson, an American retired Neurosurgeon who led a team of surgeons in the first known separation of conjoined twins joined at the back of the head. 

“Teams are very integral in how we live as human beings. A lot of what we do is so complex that one person might not give the whole solution,” said Actor.

Ms Kana shared with the students some of the practical things needed to leapfrog into the labour market. This includes creative thinking, problem solving and innovation and

“Your hunger will determine your future. So if you are slack you will not make it. New money comes through creativity, you need to generate new ideas,” she advised the students

Prof Jabulani Kheswa, Deputy Head of the UFH Psychology Department reminded the students that: “People with a positive mindset have a greater chance of succeeding and are capable to use their success to empower others.”

The Dean of Students Affairs, Mr Lufuno Tshikudo thanked the Convocation members and the organizers for the great initiative.