Formal education has long been considered as essential for growth and opportunity and many individuals opted (and still do) for degrees and postgraduate programmes as a measure of credibility and to ensure affirmative career paths.
However, the work environment in the digital era is a continuously changing landscape that requires adaptation and agility. Nowadays, an individual may start working in a position based on their formal qualifications but they often have sub-sets of other useful skills that could play a greater role in their career progression, allowing them to be promoted or to shift into different roles.
One of the gaps that has been identified to meet business demands is to upskill and equip individuals like these with appropriate knowledge and skills for their new roles. Wits Plus has become instrumental in these capacity building initiatives, both for mature adults who have qualifications as well as for those who don’t, to boost their development through various short courses.
Adapting in the 21st century workplace
A major evolution in the modern work environment is that fields are increasingly multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary. There are varying degrees of overlap between different domains, disciplines and fields and a strategic approach needs to consider the different levels and types of knowledge required at these intersections.
An organisation could identify the competencies required in key functions or roles and ascertain which employees need to have knowledge, be a supervised practitioner, an independent practitioner or indeed be an expert in these competencies. This profile mapping can then be used to determine potential gaps and suggest personal development plans for staff to suit their specific needs and required level of training. In this way staff development and achieving company strategic goals are aligned.
Short courses are specific, concise and short-term and play a crucial role in providing relevant and just-in-time knowledge to meet the unique demands of the digital-era workplace.
Language proficiency complements evolving and new job roles
English is the most commonly used language in the business environment but is the home language for only a small percentage of people. If we consider that businesses cannot function without excellent communication between the various stakeholders and that language is central to effective communication, we can clearly see how important it is to enhance and improve one’s English language proficiency.
Many individuals in the workplace are recognised as experts or specialists within their fields of study. Often though, those same individuals have challenges when it comes to language proficiency: in detailing reports, selling their ideas to management, speaking formally when addressing particular audiences and even extending to delivering presentations and business writing skills.
The Language School at Wits Plus offers courses for individuals who wish to learn a new language (including South African Sign Language), professionals who want to improve their ability to communicate at a high level as well as for organisations that invest in customised training to develop their employees.
Specific business-focused short courses
Short courses in Project Management, available both as public courses for individual students as well as for customised delivery to groups of employees, are very popular. Project Management as a management tool is increasingly used by professionals from almost all backgrounds and provides a broad-based competency in a range of management skills, which can increase workplace efficiency, and thus contribute to profitability and improved client service.
Making programmes accessible and affordable for part-time students is exemplified by a Wits Plus partnership with the School of Construction Economics and Management at the University. Students can complete modules required for entry into sought-after BSc Honours degrees in Quantity Surveying and in Construction Management as part-time short courses.
A wide range of short courses in various disciplines is available through Wits Plus, including management, accounting, marketing, insurance and corporate governance. These courses can be completed over one semester, and a number of full-year (usually credit-bearing) options are also available. A growing number of online short courses are also offered via the DigitalCampus platform.
Short courses offer an effective way to develop and reinvent ourselves to keep up with the constant changes and challenges of the digital era. Start exploring the options today!
About Wits Plus:
Wits Plus, the Centre for Part-time Studies at Wits University, offers selected part-time Wits undergraduate degrees, postgraduate programmes and business and language short courses on a part-time and flexible basis.
Collaboration with Wits Language School, Wits DigitalCampus and Wits Online means that flexible study options are further enhanced and continue to expand to meet the changing needs of professionals and mature adults who require their studies to fit within their lifestyles and careers.