Velani Michael Khambule with Regent Business School Managing Director, Dr Ahmed Shaikh. Photo: Supplied

DURBAN - Velani Michael Khambule was handpicked as part of a high-performing group of students for a pioneering programme at Regent Business School's new iLeadLAB, the Employability Unit. 

The 24-year-old Chesterville resident has been lauded for his design innovation after conceptualising and producing a prototype for a kettle that is digitally-controlled by an Arduino board. 

Khambule and nine other students were put through an intensive 10-day bootcamp at Regent Business School's iLeadLAB – an innovative education programme aimed at bridging the gap between graduates and 21st century employability.

Regent Business School Managing Director, Dr Ahmed Shaikh, said the new creative hub is a response to a growing global demand by employers who require employees with work-ready skills and who can make a meaningful contribution to the organisation they are employed at.

"Imagine the positive impact on their localised communities and societies if we could transform them into entrepreneurs! Innovation in education is one of the key drivers for us at Regent Business School, and the iLeadLAB is aimed at empowering young people and mid-career individuals with the core skills and competencies required by employers today," said Shaikh. 

During the 10-day bootcamp, Khambule and nine others students received all-round, hands-on training that included the art of successful communication, digital literacy, 3D and 4D printing, the use of AI, software in business, marketing and sales amongst other things. Journaling by the participants provided an opportunity to reflect on their thoughts and experiences. They were also tasked with building their own viable project based on what they had learned.  

For Khambule, who graduated with a BCom degree from Regent Business School this year, the experience was like no other. “I always wanted to be employed. My exposure at the iLeadLAB has changed this perspective. It brought out a creative side of me that I didn’t even know that I had! For the first time, I am now thinking of entrepreneurship.” 

The 10-day programme was gruelling, but the pressure intensified on the final day when the students competed against each other and pitched their project to a Dragon’s Den-style group of panellists. 

“The current pace of innovation and change is explosive,” explains Shaikh. “The world needs graduates like Khambule who are able to flex their creative and critical muscles to address challenges. This is what our iLeadLAB has set out to achieve albeit in a small way, here at the tip of Southern Africa. It’s no longer enough to upskill. We need to upskill by innovatively multi-skilling.”