By Ayanda Mahlaba
From Monday, 19th to Wednesday, 21st August 2019, the University of Johannesburg’s Center for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD) hosted a General Career Fair at the institution’s APK campus Foyer.
The Fair is an initiative by the institution to prepare all of its students from every field of study for the world of work, according to a weekly message to staff and students by the Vice Chancellor (VC) and principal of the University, Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala.
Marwala added that there is a need to devise novel ways of tackling the country’s unemployment rate, which is always at the top of the agenda.
The official unemployment rate of the second quarter lingered at 29%, the expanded definition was 38.5% and the number of youths in need of jobs sat at 56.4
Unemployment among graduates. One’s qualification potentially increases employment opportunities. Evidently, only 9% of graduates are unemployed and more broadly, a total of 2.2% of South Africa’s 6,5 million unemployed people are graduates.
During the Fair, companies were presenting about their entities’ specialisations, employment opportunities, bursaries and internships.
Fiono Rashivhombela, an honours student in Economics, said that she was very excited about the Fair due to the number of companies catering for her specific field of study.
Rashivhombela was able to gain new knowledge, making her now aware of her options.
With the Fair also being open to the public, Ziyanda Nodada, a 10th grade student from Vector College, stated that she was glad to have attended with her friends and it has made her feel surer about her career path.
Specifics of career fair. However, of all the companies that were present, only four of them catered for students studying towards a media and creative arts degree, which made some of the students feel as if the fair was not as exclusive or general.
Ndivhoho Mafamadi said, “Honestly speaking, I feel like the General Career Fair does not cover for all of us.
“I’m in the Humanities Faculty doing a Bachelor of Arts and as I was walking around, I could not find anything relevant to me. They mostly cater for accounting and finance.”
Kgothatso Mathiba, a second-year B Com Accounting student and also a volunteer at the Fair, highlighted that there are three types of career fairs on an annual basis.
These are the law fair, commerce fair and the general fair. The last one is dedicated to all students in every field of study.
Even though it is supposed to be general, however, she said it does not feel that way as there is a greater presence of accounting and commerce firms.
Prioritisation of sciences and business/finance. “I have come to the fair as means of securing an internship and learning more about my career, but the companies here do not have anything for students in arts but mostly cater for sciences and commerce,” said Desree Ramakola, a first-year student in Social Work.
In addition to all the companies showcasing their expertise and the like, PsyCaD also provided talks on different topics that help guide students.
The topics include innovative ways of seeking employment that assists one to update his/her CV, learn about interview skills and other important aspects needed to launch a successful career.
Juliet Solomon, who is the Career Service team leader, said students should visit the Resource Centre when the companies at the career fair are not representative of their fields of study.
She added to say that the University has an upcoming Government Department Career Day in September. This is an interdisciplinary fair and has had a great response from the Humanities Faculty.
Students have also been encouraged to think outside the box.
It implies weighing one’s options and not being discouraged to study for a different qualification even after securing a media or arts degree as that would open a variety of opportunities in the world of work. YC
Reporting by Ayanda Mahlaba. Editing by Gaby Ndongo. Feature image consists of a career fair sign seen at the University of Johannesburg APK campus, a few days before the beginning of the general career fair, on Saturday, 17th August 2019. Image courtesy to Gaby Ndongo.