The power of the pandemic – digitisation of our workspaces

The power of the pandemic – digitisation of our workspaces.

An interview with Nadine Botha, Registrar Academic of Boston City Campus.

    1. How has the pandemic changed the workplace in terms of fast tracking digitisation? Imagine shifting a physical office into cyberspace. That’s what we had to do virtually overnight. Hold meetings at a digital table, share documents digitally, communicate efficiently with email and WhatsApp, and ensure products were digitised. In the case of a tertiary institute, it means lectures online, and lecturers available online too. Whatever your business, you had to make sure to continue to service your customer needs seamlessly.  We had to learn apps like Teams and Zoom.  Let’s take an example of travel agents who were simply shut down, long term. Pivoting their business was not even an option, they had to develop new businesses from the bottom up. Many have gone into sales of either their own produced goods or they have sourced goods to sell. Either way, they had to immediately become digital sales people. They had to market themselves and their product (marketing) create an online presence (branding, web design, knowing your market and how to reach them) and find a way for safe payment and delivery.
    2. What new digital skills are employees going to need in order to be able to add value in the digitised work environment? We no longer have the luxury of putting a digital skills course such as social media, web design or digital communications on our bucket list or to do list, we were thrown in the deep end and needed these skills immediately!

    Digital skills are essential skills for everyone, and also lifelong skills that need to be updated. All employees need to be computer literate, they need to be able to promote business, service and products. They need to function on LinkedIn, and all social media. They will need a combination of new skills such as social media, search engine optimisation, presentation skills and project management, together with ‘older’ skills such as marketing, brand management and reporting.

    Team leader and management skills have to be learned and adapted to remote working environments, and a way of ‘socialising’ digitally as this is an important aspect of productivity in the workplace.

    1. What is the significance of upskilling employees rather than letting them go and how can businesses go about doing that? Do what is best for your business. That is increased revenue and increased productivity. How do you achieve that?
    • Decide how you can pivot your business, based on what you have available to you, and include employees in this discussion. They have been on this pandemic journey too and they will have excellent ideas of market place demands as consumers.
    • Decide what skills will be needed to put the new business plan in action.
    • Assign roles to people,
    • Upskill the personnel.

    The advantage of upskilling existing employees is that they know your business and your product, and they are already a team who know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They will be able to work together, assign tasks, and work towards the overall success of the company rather than individual success.

    1. What are some of the new jobs demanding digital skills? Social media, online sales, web design, project management, presentation skills, communication, supply chain management and logistics, graphics, IT security, networking, A+ and N+, CCNA  (cisco certified network associate) , mobile app development
    2. How can people future proof their job or career? We used to say that IT was a career of lifelong learning, and that if you didn’t want to always be learning, that you shouldn’t do that career. We have now realised that EVERY career is lifelong learning. To future proof your career you should always be doing a new skill and a new qualification.  The fourth industrial revolution skills and traits that were already in demand before Covid19, (as seen in the skills in the Bachelor of Social Science), are more in demand than ever. These include flexibility adaptability; critical thinking, creative problem solving and people management.

     

    See short courses including mobile app development on www.boston.co.za

 

 

 

CISCO CCNA – Certified Cisco Network Associate

CISCO CCNA – Certified Cisco Network Associate

Holding a CCNA Cisco Certified Network Associate certification can be game-changing for IT professionals. The certification expands your career choices and exposes you to the latest available CISCO technologies. So says Kobus Olivier, Head of Course development in IT at Boston City Campus.

Kobus continues that “In a world where our every move is ruled by a pandemic, the most important goal any employed person or consultant should have is to upskill and remain relevant, while also having the traits of remaining adaptable and flexible”.

What are the advantages of this particular Cisco course? “Well, you can start any time, this course is not semester-based, so you can make the most of working from home and the time saved in travel to and from work,” says Olivier. “being that the course and registration is fully online, you literally get started when you are ready, study in your own space, in your own time, and at your own pace” he continues. “In this course, even the practical elements are online – we have adapted being fully compliant with social distancing!”  At the same time, Olivier reinforces that students are not simply left to their own devices. “There is a lecturer available online, via email or telephone or skype, teams, etc to ensure that we will support all student queries”, he says.

Students have queried how exams work with this type of online course. Olivier says that the course has been designed in a way too continually assesses internally to facilitate and enhance learning.  On successful completion of the final online assessment, students will receive an official CISCO certificate. “We further encourage students to also write the international exam (Cisco Certified Network Associate – 200-301) at any Vue testing centre” he says. In a world where every company is part of a global economy, and jobs are available on an international scale, this is an important add-on for graduates.

So how much time would you have to invest in order to gain these skills? The course requires a minimum of 210 hours of study time. Students may extend their learning experience over a longer time period.

Because these are advanced skills included in this course, there are specific entry requirements.

CompTIA A+ or/and CompTIA N+ is advised as prerequisites to the course. Students with no prior networking learning experience can attend the CISCO Networking Essentials course (70 Hours).

What skills will you get from this CCNA course? Network Technician, Network Support Engineer, Routing and switching specialist, Networking security.

“In terms of what type of person you should be in order to be a success with these skills, you need to be technically orientated, patient, and analytical.

To complete this course the fees are R6 505, which will include your textbook, but exclude the international Vue exam)

This is a complex course and includes more than one individual qualification. A graduate of the course will receive:

Cisco certificates for each of the completed 3 sections of the program:

CCNA 7: Introduction to Networks

CCNA 7: Switching, Routing, and Wireless Essentials

CCNA 7: Enterprise Networking, Security, and Automation

International certification: Cisco Certified Network Associate – on completion of the Vue exam.

What kind of employment will it give you – estimated salary, what type of company?

Because CCNA skills are required by any company which has an internal network structure, there are a few job opportunities that will open up for you. These include Network Technician, Network Support Engineer, Routing and switching specialist, and Networking security. In addition, CCNA skills will contribute to setting up your own business.

Call Boston now on 011 551 2000 for more information, or see www.boston.co.za

 

 

Loving adversity: the secret to success

Loving adversity: the secret to success

Whether you find obstacles in your career, studies, or personal life, adversity has the potential to be a powerful catalyst:  it can make you strong or render you helpless.  Ultimately, your approach to facing adversity, and your response to unexpected outcomes, is a deciding factor in whether adversity will propel you forward or stop you in your tracks.

“No one escapes difficulties.  Setbacks may have the power to temporarily derail your journey, the aim at Boston is to get people to see them rather as gifts in the form of a learning experience. This gives our learners the opportunity to create empowering beliefs and recommit with greater determination in order to achieve their goals,” says Natalie Rabson, counsellor at Boston City Campus.

Natalie shares 5 key strategies to leverage the power of adversity for your greatest success.

1. Loving the negative association

“Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience,” says author Mark Manson.

While it is easy to fall in love with our end goal, we need to travel the journey to reach it. And the journey may have bumps, hardships, even failure. It is unrealistic to think that there’s a direct path to getting to that destination of success.

“From the outset, we have to know that there will be hard moments, difficult exams, and problems.  Focussing on one step at a time, for example, one module at a time, enables you to manage each challenge instead of feeling overwhelmed by the big picture,” says Natalie.

2. The Obstacle is the Way

While obstacles may appear threatening, they can also be the very thing that catalyse our growth.  The pandemic has been a huge obstacle, but some have turned it into a lucrative opportunity. Others have changed the direction of their business 180 degrees. Hotels in Cape Town were offering drop off laundry services, catering, and work stations for daily rental.  Choosing to see each outcome or event as an opportunity to learn and develop further, makes you a stronger person.

3. Power of Inversion

Inversion is a practice of thinking the opposite of what you want.  It may go against common sense but highlighting mistakes and issues you want to avoid bring inciteful wisdom into what not do along the way. Seeing this another way, imagine the worst that could happen, then go for it. You’ve already faced the obstacle in your mind, and if failure happens, it won’t come as a shock and it won’t feel so bad.

4. Learn to love the “Nos”

“You can achieve virtually anything you want–if you’re willing to hear ‘no’ often enough,” says Andrea Waltz, co-author of Go for No! While it is human nature to want to avoid the rejection associated with “No”, the fact is that hearing a ‘no’, brings you closer to getting your yes – be it for the job, the relationship, or the life you want to have. No’s should hopefully motivate you to work harder and achieve more.

5. Take action

Former Canadian professional ice hockey player, Wayne Gretsky said, “You always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Forget about telling yourself all the reasons why adversity is holding you back from going for that job, that relationship, or that degree; if you don’t try push past the setback you will never know what’s possible.  And even if Plan A doesn’t work out, you will probably learn how to do it better and apply it to Plan B, C, D ….continuing to take action down the line until you achieve what you want.

“Encountering adversity may be inevitable, so you need to choose how it will dictate your actions”, says Natalie.  “Expect adversity, use it to alter your course or behaviour, and continue towards your goals”.

 

 

 

Remote Work Environment: Balanced, Agile and Adaptable

Remote Work Environment: Balanced, Agile and Adaptable

by Jacques Viljoen

Working from the comfort of your own home, and perhaps in your favourite pyjamas, comes with the avoidance of the stresses of travelling to a venue which may be miles away from home or having to organise accommodation which entails extra cost and inconvenience. Furthermore, it is being argued that more than half the managers in today’s business settings must cope with disruptions and distractions that cause them to take up to 25% longer to complete their projects and tasks (Taylor, 2020). It is thus vital that you both reinforce your focus, and make modifications in the workplace, that will both lessen the impact of such distractions and cut them to a minimum.

Working remotely has become the new norm. We have gotten used to it in some ways, but we might still face challenges. It could range from setting up your workplace, motivating yourself or understanding the importance of work-life balance. Research found that workers who work at least some of the time remotely are happier, feel more trusted, less stressed, are more inclined to recommend their employer to a friend and are less likely to leave than their office-based colleagues (Harvey, 2020). People choose to work remotely to achieve better work-life balance, increase their productivity and to avoid commuting.

Working from home will inevitably mean you’ll need to adapt your working style to suit your home environment. You’ll probably need to learn to structure your working time differently, work out what you require to do to keep your vigor high throughout the day and avoid unnecessary distractions of varying types. You’ll need to discover how best to communicate with your colleagues, making sure you’re connecting with them regularly and effectively, keeping in touch so that you maintain positive working relationships and build a strong united team that you feel a crucial part of. The ‘new normal’ way of working requires us thus also to be agile and adaptable when leading our virtual teams. For some, it’s unchartered territory and will require a new mindset and new skills. For others, it’s a time for recalibrating their connections with their team members who work remotely (MTD Training, 2020).

In today’s technology-driven world, upskilling is becoming progressively important simply because technology changes so fast. More and more people are choosing to pivot mid-career as well as differentiate their skills later in life. This is a clever move in an uncertain economy, and it allows people to merge exceptional abilities as well to differentiate themselves from the competition. It also is essential for simply staying up-to-date on technological trends to stay more competitive in the marketplace. Working remotely can thus provide a chance to acquire new skills since the most competitive worker in the future is one who persistently sharpens his or her skills. While you are working from home, why not afford yourself a chance to acquire new skills or advance your current skill level ?

Work-life balance is a blend of personal and work life that is sustaining to you and the significant others in your life. It will be indispensable to see how home working impacts on your home life and, where appropriate, the people you live alongside. Be flexible, and maintain secure positive connections, all the while balancing work and home life the best way you can. You might want to work out how home working supports you, your self-care, your self-esteem and your career.

A healthy balance will keep your life free from undue stress, busyness and guiltiness so that you can lead a happy, healthy and purposeful life.

 

 

 

Images courtesy of Unsplash

Remote Learning for Staff and Students Alike

Remote Learning for Staff and Students Alike

by Jacques Viljoen

Boston firmly believes in providing a broad, flexible education to its students and staff alike. Although we have become somewhat used to the new norm of remote working, it still comes with its challenges. Whether it is setting up your workplace, motivating yourself from home, building resilience, or understanding the importance of a work-life balance, we could all use a helping hand.

This is one of the many reasons that Boston City Campus has partnered with Bookboon Learning, the World’s most used corporate learning solution.

With thousands of engaging eBooks and educational podcasts, Bookboon Learning’s easy to access digital learning solution has helped many of our staff members stay connected and moving forward during these challenging times.

Here are some of BCC staff’s favourite picks:

Resilience in the Workplace

The post-pandemic workplace is full of change, deadlines, and stress. This eBook helps employees to develop a set of resilience strategies and skills designed to help them bounce back, grow, and thrive. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working from Home

Remote working is now a reality for much of the working population meaning ensuring managers are equipped with the right skills is a must. This book is packed with key steps to get the best out of your remote workers. It also looks at the impact of generational diversity on home working. An easy but compelling read, this is an essential book both for managers and home-workers alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Access free eBook here

Daily Planning

Without our usual routine, it can be challenging to keep up with our role. Master daily planning and give yourself space to breathe and develop with this bite-sized eBook. Become more effective and efficient, do more in less time, reduce stress, free up time for development, and be a super planner!

At Boston City Campus, it is our commitment to provide both students and staff with engaging and effective educational tools. Find eBooks and podcasts on these and thousands of other topics by visiting your Boston Bookboon Learning eLibrary or opt-out for the 30-days free trial (if not a Bostonite).

 

 

 

 

Coping with pandemic pitfalls – addressing retrenchment

Coping with pandemic pitfalls – addressing retrenchment

Natalie Rabson on behalf of Boston City Campus

“Possible lockdown retrenchments are already soaring” (Sarah Smit, 29 June 2020) These are headlines we have been seeing for a few weeks, and they are getting worse as employers begin retrenchment processes, reduce office space and staff allocations, and even close businesses. Some industries are still severely affected by lockdown and some businesses may never recover, this includes the restaurant; travel; and beauty industry. The sports industry has also suffered, as well as print media and advertising. Ok – so it is every industry.

According to the CCMA’s 2018-2019 financial report, in that whole year,  38 588 workers were the subjects of section 18a retrenchments. In less than the three months between 1 April 2020 and June 25, 2020, 98 818 workers were the subjects of section 18a retrenchments, an increase of 156%. Tito Mboweni in his supplementary budget speech said “unemployment is our single greatest challenge”.  While memes abound about the silver linings that we must see in this pandemic, the harsh reality is that families need to eat, and unemployed people need to be creative in how to develop opportunities for themselves to earn a living.

What are the first steps to follow when you are retrenched?

  • Speak to your HR department and find out exactly what you are entitled to, eg termination dates.
  • Find out what legal options and recourse you have regarding your job and salary, retrenchment pay, etc.
  • Get your UIF (unemployment insurance fund) details, and signed documents, from your employer. Submit your documents if your employer does not do this on your behalf.
  • Contact all institutions where you hold credit, bond, bank, etc, and inform them of your situation, and agree to payment plans for the short term…
  • Try and meditate every day, it is easier to approach your problems with a calm and clear mind.
  • You may request a meeting regarding alternative options to retrenchment eg reduced pay, reduced working hours, a lateral move in the organisation using different skills you may have.
  • Whatever you do, do not display anger, or a temper. You will need your employer when new opportunities arise either within the organisation, or as a reference in a new organisation.
  • While you are in a difficult spot, make sure to look after your physical and mental health.
  • Put a plan in place to seek employment. Update your CV with references, your latest skills upgrades you have done, qualifications, and job description. And begin to network.
  • Develop your skills including social media skills. Rely on your social network to find opportunities for which you may apply, or to recommend you.

Education and new skills appropriate for the fourth industrial revolution were already at the forefront of recommendations to address retrenchments, now, since the start of the pandemic, it is more important than ever to have skills to offer an employer, or to allow you to open your own business, or side hustle. You need basic accounting skills and marketing, with a focus on digital marketing skills, to be successful in any business especially as so many now operate remotely and online. Logistics has become highly in demand as retail moves into warehouses for online sales. Professionals and managers that have found themselves out of work should consider registering for the Postgraduate Diploma in Management, an all-encompassing deepening of critical skill sets with which to surf the wave of change that is breaking, (for the holder of any undergraduate degree). A degree will put you ahead of other job seekers, this is a time to stand out in order to succeed. Higher Education is back in the spotlight.

Visit www.boston.co.za for more info.

Career Compass Guides the way to Success

1. Why is it so difficult for school leavers to decide on a career to follow?

Recent research has indicated that prospective tertiary education students are not confident about their career choices.  Schools do not have the resources they need to assist learners with career investigation, and in addition, they have to focus their time and efforts on the academic material for exams –they don’t have the luxury of spending time advising on careers. It is in this environment that learners have to make a choice and finalise applications!  I can also say from experience – when you are in first year you are overwhelmed, studies are very difficult at a tertiary level, and we land up questioning whether the effort required matches our passion for the industry we have selected!

2. So Boston realized that there was a gap in career education at school level, and addressed it with a computerized programme?

Well, recent research indicates that 73% of matric students believe they are still in need of comprehensive career guidance and 84% believe there are many career opportunities they do not even know of.  Sadly, only 21% believe they have the resources within their area to guide them towards their ideal career. Learners need clarity!

Boston invested in the development of a computerised assessment that can be delivered on a national basis and made sure it is offered free as part of our corporate social responsibility to education. A decision on careers is a life-changing decision and we have to keep in mind it involves a commitment to fees too, so we believe that we need to try and assist in matching the most appropriate skills and interests to studies. It is offered at no obligation or cost to any learner.

3. Tell us about the career compass assessment?

This is a hi-tech and brief career insight evaluation that is aimed to help students reach career maturity. It will help you explore things such as:

Do you want to work regular office hours or extended hours?

Work with numbers?

Work with people?

Work alone?

Work as a member of a team?

Are you creative? Do you wish to enter the working world as a technician, web designer, programmer, or administrator?

The answers to these pertinent questions guide the student towards the ideal study programme.

4. And when the aptitude assessment is complete – what do you get?

Results are available immediately, produced in a graph that ranks the individual’s results from the most suited career options to the least, based upon the individual’s interests.

Appropriate career choice is important – it has been proven that students are more likely to succeed academically if they are studying subjects that they enjoy.

‘Statistics show that there is a 15% – 25% throughput rate at South African universities and colleges (Source: High university drop-out rates: a threat to South Africa’s future – HSRC, 2008).  This means that only about 1 quarter of all students who start a programme complete it. “This shows career choice requires research and self-evaluation with a consultant.  And if you start a degree and you are not happy –investigate your options!”

5. What other advice do you have for learners about to make a career decision?

Education is not static – which is why Boston maintains a liaison with various industries, updates course material, and introduces new courses such as our new Cisco qualifications to keep graduates in demand in the workplace. We also continuously work on achieving accreditation for new Higher Ed degrees and diplomas, to meet new skills demands in the industry.

For more information, contact Boston on 011 551-2000, e-mail info@boston.co.za, visit www.boston.co.za, or Facebook.

Boston City Campus & Business College embraces the fundamental role of e-resources in the digital universe of e-learning and teaching.

Boston City Campus & Business College embraces the fundamental role of e-resources in the digital universe of e-learning and teaching.

“For the majority of South Africans, the lack of information and knowledge impedes their development due not only to scarce material resources but also to a lack of appreciation of the developmental role that the e-resources sector plays. The constitutional right of access to information implies equal access to the knowledge infrastructure, technologies and networks of the 21st century (Department of Arts and Culture, 2018).” To this end, Boston’s ICT reconnoitre products that store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit, and receive information electronically in a digital form serve to empower their students and staff alike to enter the digital universe. Recognising the rapid growth of e-learning worldwide, Boston’s academicians continually collaborate, and gauge e-resources related to programmes and modules taught, in order to continually offer accessible ‘library’ resources “in your own space, at your own time”.

Heading the e-Resources at Boston, Jacques Viljoen, maintains that “Boston’s Integrated Quality Advancement System, technology-based prescribed texts and training materials, e-resource library and the ample access arrangements, are tailor-fit to support distance learners and provide incentives for students to learn according to their own needs, i.e. capacity, place, and space. A broad range of scholarly texts and advanced trade journals are available online to support appropriate professional and scholarly activities pertinent to the knowledge context of each programme at different levels of complexity that mirror the NQF levels of each programme.” Currently, a staggering 10 897 e-books and 12 019 e-journal titles are reachable from anywhere in the world 24/7 provided that you are a registered Boston student and have internet connectivity. Student Tshepiso Mokoena remarked on Boston City Campus & Business College’s Bookboon HE eLibrary: “…wow great platform. I feel like a kid in a candy store. Thank you”. Another student, Mqondisi Sibonelo Gumede commented: “Mind-blowing…the Information Technology section has many useful books on Programming…love it”.

Technologically mediated support that is offered by the various faculties focusses on assisting students in navigating and accessing the available on-line knowledge services for their associated fields of commercial practice. This is in addition to the instructions located in the prescribed and supplementary learning materials that are issued with each programme for which a learner registers. As an added support, Boston Head of Departments and academic tutors are available via various electronic and telephonic processes to provide personal academic tuition.  Boston’s Head of IT, Shaun Hart, remarks about the essential effectiveness of the Boston network of support centres granting distance learners localised access to technology, e-resources, and service support resources. “Boston is playing its rightful role in achieving an integrated ICT system and by so doing supports the development of dynamic and connected information society and a vibrant knowledge economy that is more inclusive and prosperous” as envisaged in the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper of 2016.

Through unpacking the above, students are thus able to position their own knowledge project within the broader commercial knowledge system and to benchmark their endeavours on the knowledge continuum from the lower NQF levels to the most advanced.

For more information on study options at this vibrant institution, visit boston.co.za.

Our training advisors and consultants are the backbone of support for our students.

Our training advisors and consultants are the backbone of support for our students.

What makes them tick? And what makes them love what they do? We sat down to chat with Alvino Arrison of Bellville, to find out why the Boston TA’s are so passionate about what they do.

Tell us a bit about Boston and the institutions values?

Boston City Campus is a student-centered institution of Higher Education. Our primary goal is to improve the lives of students and graduates by making them marketable as work-ready employees. We do this through operating a tech-based platform that enables anytime anywhere online applications, registrations, learning, and assessment. We also do this through achieving both local as well as international accreditation for our qualifications; by having a large national footprint enabling students to remain at home and/or work while they study, saving costs of time, travel and accommodation as well as allowing them to continue to contribute in the home; by using AI (artificial intelligence) to monitor their progress continuously, and by using human interaction when the AI alerts us that a student needs enhanced supervision and assistance.

  1. What does a Training Advisor do at the college?

As a leading provider of tertiary education in South Africa, Boston believes that just offering qualifications is only half of its job – the other half is ensuring that its students have the knowledge and support to make the right career choice. Boston is very focussed on ensuring a match between interests and skills, to a career or industry. As training advisors, we believe firmly that when a student is guided towards the correct qualification that is appropriate to his or her interests, as well as ability, time constraints and financial commitment, the chance of success in the qualification and subsequent career and/or employment increases significantly.

My job is to assist with this guidance and supervise the student until they successfully graduate.  I am involved with the student from before decision making until graduation, it is a very rewarding and fulfilling job for me.  We also make use of a career guidance tool called “Career Compass”; through which Boston provides prospective students with the opportunity to discover more about themselves, their talents, and what kind of careers they would be best suited to.

  1. Boston has international accreditation -tell us some more?

Boston is recognised and awarded accreditation as an Independent Higher Education Institution with the British Accreditation Council (BAC). The BAC currently accredits more than 230 institutions in 19 countries. Boston is also a candidate for the accreditation of specific programmes by the Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programmes (ACBSP), Unites States, America. South Africa is part of a global online economy and work-force, international accreditation levels the playing fields when our grads interact with international workforces. And should graduates relocate, their qualifications travel with them!

  1. Being online, especially now in the pandemic, how does Boston make sure students receive your celebrated ‘ personal attention’?

Our job is getting the students through to graduation. We also understand that students have a background with different experiences of learning, and are therefore starting at different points in their journey. To this end, we have many ways that a student can ask for assistance including phone calls, emails, skype calls, and WhatsApp groups. Help is always available thanks to Boston’s continued use of technology-based training with academic staff at the other end of the click of a button.

To enhance students’ rate of success we have developed a specially designed pro-active monitoring and mentoring educational system, designed to support online learning.

What does this mean for a student? It means that you have access to assistance with your coursework. It means you can get your queries answered by your assigned tutor, either in person, via email, telephonically, or via skype. It means you only progress in your coursework as you master the work that has been completed. It means you can get topics explained and re-explained until you are satisfied.  It is a proactive system, which will actively monitor every learner.  Training Advisors are always available to students and will refer them to the correct department when necessary.

I always welcome students to chat with me, and they are also welcome to make an appointment (Covid19 regulations) and see me in the college should they feel that they wish to do an in-person application or query.

In essence, my job excites me and seeing students register and watching them through to graduation excites me!

Why should we add to our stresses by studying now?

Our world and environments, working and personal spaces, have changed so dramatically and so rapidly that we have been left reeling in shock, and scrambling to adapt. Many people are just trying to ‘hang in there’ and wait for a return to what used to be.  Taryn Strydom of Boston City Campus believes that we will not be returning to ‘normal’. “Currently workplaces that are operational have many protocols that must be observed, including encouraging as many people as possible to work from home. Businesses, in order to survive, have had to change their services, products, and the way that they are offered in order to continue to survive, and hopefully thrive.”  Taryn continues explaining that many service providers such as hairdressers and nail technicians have been prevented from offering their services for four months. The staff of liquor stores do not know if they will have a job to go back to. Therefore in planning for a world post-lockdown, the very best thing that you can do right now is upskill yourself so that you have new and relevant skills to offer an employer, or a community should you decide to open your own business.

Taryn discusses five reasons why she believes that now is an excellent time to start a qualification.

  1. We now have more time for our studies. We are saving time by not travelling to and from work. Many people previously used the excuse that ‘they don’t have the time’ to study’. One of the advantages of working from home is the added time we have to our days. Even if you are traveling to work, nights and weekends should find you with additional time as we are not visiting family and having social arrangements.
  2. Studying online creates a resilience, perseverance and independence that are traits valued highly in the fourth industrial revolution. Acknowledging the context of the 21st century and the fourth industrial revolution, online learning by its very nature supports and develops personal independence, and prepares the candidate for the modern workplace – one which is characterised by remote work-from-home arrangements and a high degree of personal autonomy. The student who has had to self-manage their studies is someone who can be trusted to meet deadlines in the remote workplace.
  3. Develop new soft-skills. Part of upskilling is that we also develop ways to think critically, solve problems, and take responsibility for progress: these “soft skills” are valuable currency in the modern workplace.
  4. Face unpredictability armed with an ability to adapt. We have seen from the economy sliding and daily events, that our lives are more unpredictable than ever. The only way to combat this is to maintain relevance in a workplace that is always changing. Travel agents are now baking and selling goods from home. With people working from home, imagine if you had the ability to do tech call-outs? Fix a laptop or a network issue in an emergency? Or if you have web design skills, you can be the start of someone’s new online business by setting up their website and ordering system? Perhaps develop an app for home-schooling? There are opportunities out there for work, we need to have the skills that we can network ourselves and offer services.
  5. When and if we do get back to looking for employment with a large corporate, we will still need new fourth industrial revolution skills. The landscape has shifted, and employers will demand employees that can fill many roles as companies have scaled back to adapt to the economy. Companies will always need bookkeepers, for example, but also brand builders and call centre agents. They will also be looking for leaders who can generate ideas and make them happen through project management. Using the time to study now, means you will have skills you can use both during and after lockdown, as we face the changing landscape as leaders. Taking our qualifications a level higher creates great opportunities for upward mobility, earning potential increases, and new job opportunities will open up.

Higher Education applications close soon. Contact Boston on 011 551 2000, email info@boston.co.za or visit www.boston.co.za