A new career centre at Fort Hare’s Alice campus encapsulates the university and private sector’s commitment to give graduates the best possible chance of finding employment on completion of their studies.
Funded by the Professional Provident Society (PPS), the facility is geared towards achieving job readiness through the provision of employment portals and detailed information sessions.
The PPS Career Centre was unveiled at an event attended by university management, student leadership, postgraduate students and funder representatives last week.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning Professor Renuka Vithal said UFH was grateful for ongoing support from donors and the private sector.
Finding employment in South Africa and abroad was a very big issue for young people, she said.
“We monitor employment of our graduates and are working very hard so that they find employment.”
Vithal was pleased that the career centre, which she described as a “very opportune space”, would be open to students 24/7.
The centre offers every imaginable career-relevant amenity, including 20 laptops and spaces for workshops and information sessions.
Various institutions will be brought on board to present to the students, while partners such as the Department of Labour will be invited to provide career advice.
The programme would include mock scenarios as well as instruction on how to dress and what to say during an interview, Mnqeta explained.
The jobs portal loaded on the laptops – the number of which is expected to be increased shortly – will reflect every career opportunity available, whether locally or in other parts of the world.
PPS representative Ayanda Seboni said what came through strongly was that UFS had been the first educational institution for people of colour.
“This university boasts the highest number of presidents on the continent and possibly the highest number of influential people in modern society. As PPS, we are proud to be associated with such a prestigious institution.
“What we value the most is education because we know it changes the future. But careers also make a difference; that’s why we are excited to partner with you on this initiative.”
Fort Hare Foundation director Nokulunga Mnqeta described the partnership as one that would benefit both the university and students as they went out into the world.
“Many of our students are the first graduates in their families, villages or communities, so the impact goes beyond the institution,” she said.
“It means a lot because the product offers employability. As a university, we are there to educate and make sure our students have access to the job market.”