The number of unemployed graduates and qualified people in the country remains generally high and is influenced by many factors, such as the unmatching of skills to jobs, job scarcity, labour policies and economic trends, to name but a few.
However, according to reports, another contributing factor is the number of students who have completed their studies, but cannot graduate, since their tuition fees have not been paid. The institutions, where they studied, withhold conferment of degrees or diplomas on the basis of unpaid fees. This hinders qualified students from entering the job market. Ms Ina van der Merwe, MIE CEO, said that in light of this, and because they recognise the importance of qualified people being employed, they saw a niche in the market and decided in 2008, to make a donation to the Unisa Foundation, to be allocated as bursaries to Unisa students who are in this position.
The long-standing relationship with MIE has earned the Unisa Foundation more funds for bursaries this year, as MIE was so inspired by the value of the bursary fund that they decided to make another donation. They have subsequently increased their contribution towards Unisa bursaries from R35 000 in 2008 to R65 000 in 2010.
“Bursaries go a long way in opening doors for these students as outstanding fees do not hold them back any longer. Once Unisa has identified the students who are to receive the bursaries, MIE would like to keep track of their progress. MIE has a very strong standing in the recruitment environment and, as part of the donation, conduct background verification and screening for these students, free of charge. This is another important step to job entry,” said Ina.
Ms Patricia Lawrence, Director of the Unisa Foundation and Alumni Relations Directorate, received the cheque on 31 March 2010 at the MIE Offices. She said that this is an indication that the relationship is growing, but it has to be maintained to achieve the level of impact needed.
Who is MIE?
Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE) is South Africa’s largest background screening company. Ina van der Merwe started MIE in 1988 and has grown the company into the reputable organisation it is today. Starting with only three employees initially, MIE now has a workforce of 50 people working with over 6 000 clients.
Part of the long-standing success of MIE, is the invaluable relationships that MIE has with tertiary institutions in South Africa. When MIE created The National Qualifications Register (NQR®) in 2000, Unisa realised that this register was the future for verifying graduate qualifications and joined the NQR® in 2001 as one of its first subscribers. Since then, MIE has verified over 107 000 qualifications for Unisa graduates on behalf of the institution.
MIE and Unisa have also worked closely together in the fight against qualification fraud. Unisa shares the vision that those who have worked hard to qualify for a legitimate qualification, should be afforded the opportunity to be hired in positions they deserve to hold.