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events@firesideconversations.org

Telephone # +27 (10) 312-6488

PRELIMINARY AGENDA

DAY 1: THURSDAY 28 OCTOBER

Online registration and guided tour of the virtual platform

Chairperson’s opening remarks

The fourth industrial revolution offers huge opportunity but requires a skilled and adaptable workforce. Meanwhile, employer expectations have also shifted during the pandemic and they are likely to evolve further when the world moves beyond it. This session focuses on the rapidly-changing landscape of work and how we develop the workforce of tomorrow. What will the jobs and job market of tomorrow look like? What skills does Industry 4.0 need? How can we foster these skills and embed them into the workplace? In this keynote address Prof Kupe will focus on how the University of Pretoria prepares graduates for work in collaboration with employers and its initiative, the Centre for the Future of Work.

Prof. Tawana Kupe

Technological advancements continue to disrupt and transform the workplace. Yet technological competencies are not the only skills that will enhance students’ employability. Employers are increasingly looking for distinctively ‘human skills’ that underpin non-routine cognitive work. The latter include critical thinking, complex problem-solving, creativity, teamwork (in both physical and virtual environments), the capability to apply interdisciplinary knowledge, and interpersonal and customer service skills. Flexibility and adaptability are attributes that will also be required by graduates to thrive within a world of changing employment patterns highlighting the need for lifelong learning to maintain skills currency. This session will detail the curriculum design and delivery of a project-based WIL course, which requires students, working in interdisciplinary teams, to develop authentic deliverables in response to a project brief co-designed by staff and partners. The course learning and teaching activities are aimed specifically at developing the skills and attributes identified by employers as required for successful transition to the 21st century workforce and for graduates to manage meaningful work throughout their career lifespan

Prof Leanne Piggott

  • The nature of mindset
  • The importance of mindset in global mega-shifts
  • The role of mindset in strategic decision making
  • Creating a mindset profile
  • Exploring mindset compatibility
Dr. Morne Mostert


Coffee/Tea break and virtual delegates networking

TWork-integrated learning is critical to the Higher Education Institutions obligation to address employment expectations of students and provision of well-trained individuals for the work place. Information management for work-integrated learning is a critical process which impacts on the effectiveness of the work-integrated learning process to address the partners’ expectations. Management of information has various core areas which require multiple interventions at different levels of management. The core areas of information management for work-integrated learning re personal information management and organisational information management and form part of the work-integrated learning process on an academic and administration capacity level. By distinguishing these two main levels in the information management for work-integrated learning process lessens the complexity of the triad partnership, namely:

  1. the Higher Education Institution lecturer and the Higher Education Institution administrator/work-integrated learning coordinator
  2. the industry liaison and the industry mentor, and
  3. the student and the student administrator/work-integrated learning opportunity. In this presentation it is highlighted that without a well-developed and researched information management for the project based learning, the complexity of project based learning information and processes and the lack of a strategy for the management of information will compromise the efficiency of this work-integrated learning modality.

The Optimum Work Experience Option for Students and Employers

Paul Blackmore

Transitioning from a successful student life to a fruitful career niche is a challenge that many women face in male-dominated fields. Accordingly, this presentation will seek to equip young women, in particular, on how to successfully navigate their metamorphosis journey from being a student into being a recognized subject matter expert in their field of interest. The presentation will discuss four practical stages, deduced from personal experience, with their enabling character traits, that every woman needs to be cognizant of as they transition from being a university graduate, pursuing a successful and fulfilling corporate career, into becoming subject matter expert.

  • Early career choices and their impact on your later career options
  • Starting a family: how does it impact your career choices?
  • Expanding your network for a career transition
  • Finding success by doing what you love
France Henry-Labordère
 

Break and virtual delegates networking

  • The changing needs of the learner
  • New skills in demand in the workplace
  • The gig economy and the new work place/disruption of the workplace
John Matogo



Artificial intelligence is rapidly changing the world. The promise that intelligent machines will perform tasks more efficiently and at a lower cost than human beings is by no means farfetched. The challenges facing the workers of the future are multiplying before our very eyes. Some of the most vulnerable jobs in the transition to automation, robotics and artificial intelligence are related to transport, mechanical work in factories and customer service. The common denominator, of course, in all instances is the risk that jobs will be replaced by technology. But beyond these impending economic shifts, the real promise of AI lies in its potential to address equity while carrying huge risks as well.

Harlotte McClain-Nhlapo


This session will discuss learning institutions with the choice of becoming relevant or demise into irrelevance given the speed and impact of change and innovation in the learning environment and business world.

  • Identifying the factors contributing to irrelevance
  • Determining the key success factors for relevance
  • Suggesting the diffusing of learning and work places and spaces
  • Providing guidelines for ensuring learning relevance in the new world of work
  • Empowering facilitators and learners to remain relevant

Chairperson’s first day summation

DAY 2: FRIDAY 29 OCTOBER

Online registration and guided tour of the virtual platform

Chairperson’s opening remarks

Higher education institutions have become increasingly focused on the quality of teaching and learning, and the provision of high-quality educational experiences for students in various learning contexts. Well-designed and structured work- integrated learning is beneficial to the student, the academic institution, the employer and
the community. Graduate employability is a complex concept, one which has expanded in recent years to encapsulate a diverse range of skills, attributes, and other measures including active citizenship. This presentation addresses the question of how Covid – 19 has impacted WIL, remote WIL experiences and what contribution has been made to enhance employability outcomes for graduates now and post Covid. In addition, the presentation will explore the importance of embedding WIL experiences in the curriculum, so they are effectively supported by appropriate pedagogical strategies, as well as the provision of quality assessment to support employability outcomes for the future.

Naziema Jappie

Learners and educators need to focus on the skills that need to be developed to solve the problems of today and tomorrow. But they also need to learn a new mindset, and master a continually-changing toolset of techniques and technologies.

Gary Bolles

 

Coffee/Tea break and virtual delegates networking

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has successfully designed and implemented a start-up to scale-up programme of support for small to medium sized businesses supporting the region. Employability play a pivotal role supporting these employers to compete for graduate talent. Through the development of business diagnostics, talent management consultancy, bespoke recruitment initiatives and through building meaningful relationships, businesses have reported that NTU has helped change senior managers mindsets and attitude towardsgraduate talent. NTU also recognise the specific challenges facing graduates working in SME’s, in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds. In responseNTU developed innovative Learning and Development programmes (PLAN, DMA, ICL) to support the areas often lacking for students and graduates transitioning into work, for example; resilience, negotiation, commercial awareness and managing-up, areas where universities could better prepare graduates to fast track their careers. The benefits have been mutual and NTU are driving an increase in opportunities for student work experiences and enhanced graduate pipelines.

Rachel Heyes

 

In a 2017 graduate survey study of the UFS on student employability, it was found that graduates got more employment opportunities outside the country, with China (22%) and United States (20%) leading the list of where UFS graduates secured employment. In Africa, Lesotho (46%) and Namibia (23%) attracted a number of UFS graduates. Further to this, the Free State Province where UFS is located, retained only 51% of the UFS graduates within South Africa. So it is clear Universities do not educate students for the country anymore but globally. 

  • Are South African Universities ready to prepare graduates for the changes in technology and expected changes in the workplace?
Dr Engela Van Staden
 

This session will highlight the future skills needed in business according to projections by leading specialists and the World Economic Forum. Guidelines will be presented on how learning providers should plan for addressing future skills needs. It concludes with an approach to empower learners for the future workplace in which there will be the optimal integration of the human-technology interface as brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

  • Identifying the needs of the future workplace
  • Making the shift to the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Redesigning learning for the future workplace
  • Positioning the future at the centre of work-integrated learning
  • Optimising a learner-business centred approach to learning
Dr Henri Jacobs

Break and virtual delegates networking

Join this session to uncover what employers will have to consider in engaging employees, developing new operating models, creating flexible work cultures and redefining the purpose of the office

 
  • Assessing the employers’ journey to hiring a new graduate and exploring the latest trends in recruitment, assessment and selection
  • Evaluating the state of graduate employment and what to expect from employers in the next recruitment cycle
  • Examining the next steps for enhancing diversity and social mobility within student recruitment
  • Analysing how successful recruits effectively make the transition from student life to employment.
Sharmla Chetty

 

The costs of profit-based capitalism are too high, the rising tide is drowning too many and poverty and exclusion can only end badly. The new truth is there is no plan – or Planet B. Our common aim must be to reduce the Gini coefficient and create thriving and prosperous lives rather than simply wealthy ones. The new role of universities, and business schools in particular, is to lead the movement to conceive and build a new system of economics, instead of shoring up the asphyxiating monoliths and merely delaying the inevitable.

This session will seek to answer the following questions: 

  • Why do universities exist?
  • How has the world changed?
  • What does all of this mean for the south African and global economy?
  • What threats do universities face?
  • What must our future graduates be?
  • How do we chat a way forward?
Prof Jon Foster-Peddley


  •  Setting rules when entering into partnership
    negotiations
  • Maximising the return for graduates and their
    eventual employers when developing business
    partnerships
  • Recognising the mismatch between the skills and
    accreditations acquired at university and those
    sought by employers
  • Working with universities to present internship
    programs that appeal to students when they are
    requesting placements
Robyn Acampora

 

Chairperson’s closing remarks

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