THE EFFECTIVENESS OF WORK-INTEGRATED LEARNING IN SOUTH AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES OF TECHNOLOGY: A CASE STUDY OF DURBAN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
Durban University of Technology (SOUTH AFRICA)
This paper looks at the effectiveness of Work-Integrated Learning in increasing the employability of students studying Office Management and Technology diploma at the Durban University of Technology. The national debate on graduate employment has moved from the narrow focus on a set of essential core skills within the undergraduate curriculum. Work-integrated learning (WIL) programs are becoming popular with students, government, employers, and universities. A major benefit of a WIL program is the increased employability of students, and this matches well with the present trend whereby students expect a pay-off from their investment in education. Various initiatives have been introduced to prepare students for graduate jobs rather than for any job. This includes developing critical, reflective abilities, skills for self-career management and the maintenance of employability and career progression. For OMT students, employability depends on the knowledge, skills and attitudes they possess, the way they use those assets and present them to employers and the context within which they work. The most effective initiative which enhances employment of OMT graduates is the effective and efficient Work Integrated Learning (WIL) they undergo when they do their third year. The Department ensures the placement of all students which grants jobs to more than 70% of the students. The training these students receive so far equips them with the necessary abilities to function as intelligent citizens who can be self-employed and self-reliant. The skills they acquire enable them to contribute to the productivity and development of the organisations they work for. Many graduates are affected by an increasing rate of unemployment but this is not the case for OMT graduates. Most universities has recently strengthened their commitment to WIL through adding WIL to their strategic directions and re-shaping areas of the university to better manage and support WIL provision.
Empirical data were collected by means of a questionnaire.