The employability unit – a road map to preparing students for the future of work

The university is meant to prepare you for the job role and career path that you chose to follow after school but that is thinning out as people no longer get jobs that fit what they studied in the university. These days it’s very difficult to get a decent job and the concept of “job for life” in a secure profession or corporation is almost impossible.

Studies by the World Economic Forum (WEF) suggest that 65 percent of children entering primary school today would be faced with jobs that their education would have failed to prepare them for, exacerbating the skills gaps and unemployment problems in the future workforce.

In order to solve this issue, Honoris United Universities, the first private pan-African higher education network, is using a specialist employability unit, iLeadLAB, within its Regent Business School to help prepare students for the future of work.

According to South Africa’s The MANCOSA School of Education, a member institution of Honoris United Universities, “the use of innovative, compelling and interactive methods of teaching in the form of simulated and “live in” classrooms focuses on developing teachers with 21st-century skills who are able to deploy and use technology in the classroom. This enables teachers to better cope with stress and uncertainty in the modern-day classroom, thus making for a fulfilling teaching career.”

Roughly 10 to 12 million African youth enter the labour market every year. Yet, despite the increasing number of graduates leaving school each year, the number of available jobs has not been sufficient to absorb all the young people entering the labour market. With the iTeach lab comprising six hubs: The Mathematics hub; Science hub; Culture and Diversity hub; Educational Management Development hub; Robotics and Coding hub and Creative hub, Honoris United Universities’ is developing 21st-century skills for employability.

“Under the umbrella of the ‘Collective Lab,’ each lab has a unique pedagogy which combines theoretical elements with hands-on experience, students are allowed to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are desired by employers. Whereas with the newly built Medical Simulation Centre in Tunisia developed in coordination with international experts, technology and teaching is fused, Honoris United Universities told TheNerve Africa.

Unqualified/underqualified teachers have no business in schools. There has been a growing call to restructure the education system in Africa, however, this cannot be done without teacher restructuring. There is even a greater need to prepare teachers and educators. Many times, a teaching qualification is not enough; workshops that engage in practical methods of learning need to occur regularly.

To ensure that teachers are equipped with the adequate skill set to prepare the students for the future of work MANCOSA says their school of education provides their teachers with opportunities to develop educational management and leadership skills. In addition to teaching skills, students will be equipped with life skills enabling them to thrive in a challenging and stressful teaching environment.

“We seek to develop passionate educators who will change and improve future generations through the use of blended teaching and learning methods. We intend to prepare educators holistically with a blend of technology and innovation within the classroom,” a spokesperson at MANCOSA said in an Interview.

Low starting salaries/ small annual salaries have increased low teacher enthusiasm and commitment to work and have contributed to a continental teacher shortage in Africa. The shortages are more severe in Sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa, TIMMS report discovered that 10 percent of the teachers are absent from school each day and 79 percent of South African Grade 6 mathematics teachers were classified as having content knowledge levels below the level at which they were teaching.

In South Africa, numerous teacher training colleges have closed down and only maintained teacher education at the university level, leading to further shortage of teachers in key subject specialisations thereby negatively impacting the lives of the youth of the country.