Damelin Work Integrated Learning, What do you do when you are presented with a rare opportunity to be part of a big, fast paced company that is growing at an accelerated pace? You grab the opportunity with both hands and make a mark.
That is exactly what 20-year-old Merelda Naidoo is doing. The Damelin Overport graduate has recently joined Educor, the holding company for Damelin and six other educational brands including ICESA, CityVarsity, Central Technical College Technical, Damelin Correspondence College and Lyceum. She was appointed to be part of a social media internship programme.
As part of her responsibilities, she has been tasked with being a social media copywriter. This includes creating unique posts for different social media platforms across all the Group’s educational brands. Something she is passionate about.
Merelda studied a Degree in Marketing and Business Management at Damelin. Her qualification has equipped her with the skills and knowledge she is now putting to use in her current position as an intern. She has always wanted to work for a big company and contribute towards the implementation of the company’s strategies.
“I have always wanted to make my mark in the business world, I’m hoping to be a brand ambassador one day,” said Merelda.
According to Jessie Naidoo, Head of Communications for the Group: “I have had first-hand experience of the calibre of students that we are grooming for the industry, by being part of several interviews. I am so impressed with the professional presentation and overall standard of candidates. Well done to the staff and students for taking employment seriously, as the job market is tough out there.
According to an article published on Times Live, the unemployment rate is 27.7% with 58% of the unemployed being youth between 15 and 34. The Work Integrated Learning programme assists new graduates to get experience, which is a prerequisite for most companies.
The internship she got is an entry to endless possibilities. She is just finding her feet and soon she will be a force to be reckoned with in the marketing sector. Merelda has decided that she will use what she learnt as a student at Damelin to tackle obstacles that will come her way, starting from the small ones right up to the biggest.
Jamie Murugan, Coordinator for Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and Policy Admin at Educor said every time a graduate is employed, it is a victory for the lectures, advisors and support staff. “Students are given the knowledge, theoretical foundations and the opportunity of experiential learning. It is therefore incredibly fulfilling to watch the graduates enter the workforce and apply themselves to the task at hand,”
In Merelda’s words, she is driven by enormous passion and perseverance. Her ultimate goal during her internship is to obtain tons of experience in the field she is most passionate about. She wants to work for well-known organisations and become a well-established brand ambassador. “My internship is an opportunity for me to extend my skills outside of the classroom. I want to put what I have learnt to practice,” said Merelda.
Merelda loves art, dancing and embracing new experiences. She is currently enjoying her internship and being part of the environment. “It brings out the creativity in me. I am grateful for the opportunity and experience.”
With a qualification from Damelin, Merelda has been given the opportunity to shine and she is optimising it.
How Work-Integrated Learning is valuable to your Career
Many students that I know of have looked at work-integrated learning with a little bit of hesitation. I can’t really blame them, to be honest. There have been some strange tales of interns who have been forced to serve the coffee, drive the company vehicle or be an administrator for the duration of their work-integrated learning period. Admittedly there are some organisations that do this. However for the most part if people did their research and chose a work-integrated learning programme carefully, this could be a very beneficial experience to your career.
1) It helps to develop your soft skills
When you get into any work zone, you will gain invaluable exposure to a proper working environment. You will go on a journey that allows for you to meet others, learn how to communicate with people from different walks of life and learn how to integrate socially in any environment.
2) Work-integrated learning provides hands-on training
No textbook or theoretically-based guide can ever prepare you for the real hands-on training you receive at a workplace. You will be able to meet with people who can impart their wisdom to you and show you in practical terms what you need to learn. One unique way of getting some form of work-integrated experience even if you are in industry is to study a part-time course even while you’re in industry.
3) You have more realistic expectations of the work environment
When we are growing up, we have highly idealised notions of what it means to be a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, palaeontologist… I think you get the picture. As we join companies and learn a bit more about them through their integrated learning approach, we find that the rose tinted lenses fall off and we are faced with reality. One of two things could happen. Either we fall in love with the industry or we go back to the drawing board for a more realistic fit.
4) You are able to determine earlier on, if the industry is for you
As mentioned, it is easy to get swept up in a haze of dreaminess when it comes to your expectations of any industry. Sometimes we can stay with an impossible notion longer than expected, and get a grave shock when we are finally faced with the reality of what the industry is about. With workplace learning we are able to tell early on if the industry is for us or not and cut our losses and get out if we need to.
5) Earn while you Learn
Many companies offering work integrated learning give you the opportunity to get some much needed career growth and development. But while you are at it, you can also earn some money. Many work-integrated learning programs offer a small stipend or salary and while it may not be the biggest sum in the world, it can cover travel expenses and can be a rewarding experience. Choosing to embark on any professional journey can be seen as a something of a gamble. There are many different ways to find out about an industry. But none of them are more specific than actually getting hands on experience in a working environment. Why not try out work-integrated learning?