UCT Humanities Students Envision Career Possibilities with Investec
The certificate in Career Skills for Working Life programme is run by UCT Careers Service in collaboration with its employer partner, Investec. For the second consecutive year, the Humanities Exclusive programme offered the opportunity for registered UCT Humanities students to explore the possibility of a career in a sector that is not traditionally synonymous with Humanities graduates.
The topics covered during the four-week programme began with identifying the skills that Humanities students have to offer the world of Financial Services. Other topics explored, included the effect of commercial awareness on both personal and corporate success; image projection; personal branding and the role of communication and public relations in an organisation. For many of the students the highlight was the certification and networking event held at the Investec offices in Cape Town, on Wednesday 14 September 2016
One student among the crowd at Investec’s offices was 23-year-old Anthropology honours student, Siwa Sibeko. ‘The programme was very useful for Humanities students as they always feel left out in many career-development programmes. It was a chance for us to see that there is way to use our Humanities degrees in different ways,’ she said.
Dale Choudree, from the Careers Service, coordinated the programme and facilitated the partnership with Investec. Choudree said that there was ‘unprecedented’ competition in the workplace.
‘Knowing the value of our education and the skillsets that our qualification has to offer, gives us the confidence to enter the competition. I want to thank Investec for reminding us and affirming for us, the value of a Humanities degree. The last five weeks have opened up new possibilities in the minds of our Humanities students, who see opportunities in work spaces that they might not have imagined previously.’ Choudree said that after the programme, students were more aware of the ‘edge’ that they bring to the job market, and became more cognisant of their skills, intelligence and talent.
Ingrid van der Merwe, Head: Careers Advisory, regularly advises students on their career paths and says that Humanities students often choose their majors because they are interested in the various subjects. However, they don’t always know what opportunities are available to them. ‘Many students see the broadness of Humanities as a weakness, whereas it is actually a strength, which sets a base for incredible growth and very interesting and varied careers.Van der Merwe said that a programme such as this helped Humanities students realise that their skills are sought-after in companies and organisations. ‘Some of these skills are not naturally developed in other faculties. The programme has highlighted some possibilities that students would not have thought they were eligible for, as well as raised confidence and knowledge in knowing what students offer,’ she said.
The success of the collaboration was echoed by Investec’s Nicola Tager, the company’s Global Head of Careers. She said that the corporate felt ‘privileged’ to partner with UCT Careers Service, whom she said completely understood the strategic thinking behind the Humanities Exclusive programme.
‘It’s been fantastic to have designed a bespoke offering for the students. Choosing a career is probably one of the hardest decisions an individual will have to make, and if this programme gives the students’ better insight into the world of work and how to prepare oneself, then we’ve done our job! A corporates’ competitive edge in the future will be directly influenced by the diversity of thinking and innovation within its people. It’s therefore an opportunity for Humanities students to understand the broad choice of career that is possible to them. The UCT students are engaging and great to work with. The content of each of the modules is important, but what is more important is the dialogue created through the course,’ she said.
Sibeko encouraged her peers: ‘I would definitely recommend it to other Humanities students because it is useful for them to know how to use their Humanities degrees to build careers in different sectors. At the same time, the general advice given can easily be used anywhere,’ she said.
Story by: Staff Reporters
Photo by: Lucrecia Maboane