Navigating Your Way Through the Work and Study Maze: Future Jobseekers

Before approaching a multitude of companies with new-year gusto, jobseekers should have a realistic idea of what position they want and whether they have what it takes to secure the desired position, advises Lawrence Wordon, managing director of staffing solutions company Kelly.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011


In a hurry to get going, find a job and/or enroll for a qualification this new year?

Before approaching a multitude of companies with new-year gusto, jobseekers should have a realistic idea of what position they want and whether they have what it takes to secure the desired position, advises Lawrence Wordon, managing director of staffing solutions company Kelly.

Should they be unsure about where in the world of work they would fit best, jobseekers – especially those fresh from school or college – would do well to opt for a temporary position as a way to enter the workplace.

“In our experience of working with new candidates, we have found that many candidates are drawn to the flexibility of temporary work as they prefer to test the waters, and may not want to be tied down to a permanent job in case their career path leads elsewhere,” Wordon points out.

Temporary work is a useful alternative when permanent positions are not available immediately, and it provides the opportunity for inexperienced jobseekers to start building a record of experience that they can add to their CV. When in doubt about where to start looking for temporary positions, jobseekers can approach reputable staffing companies for help.

“We are here to assist candidates in finding a job role and company most suitable to them, whether it be temporary or permanent work,” Wordon says.

“Building a career requires perseverance and determination – nothing’s going to happen overnight. The best you can do is to remain focused, and think of developing your skills and career as the best long-term investment you can make.”

“While it is not always essential when seeking career opportunities, a formal tertiary qualification (degree or national diploma) van help open doors.”

However, one also needs to be careful when selecting a qualification. Jobseekers are advised to check the credentials of tertiary institutions before committing their time and money to a study course.

“Institutions, in may cases foreign, that offer instant academic qualifications ‘at the touch of a button’ are on the increase,” cautions Ina van der Merwe, CEO of Managed Integrity Evaluation, a company that specialises in credential verification.

“These ‘qualifications’ have little or no practical value in the marketplace and consumers should treat these so called ‘degree qualification mills’ with the utmost caution.”

According to Van der Merwe, it is possible to acquire an authentic-looking qualification almost instantaneously. The internet has made it increasingly difficult to differentiate between legitimate and non-legitimate operators.

“Degree mills have been in operation for decades and they continue to flourish in leaps and bounds, fuelled primarily by the internet,” she says.

“You can get and authentic-looking academic degree – all you need is a few thousand rand and a few days, while you wait for your degree to be printed and shipped to you.”

The issue of legitimacy and integrity of academic qualifications continues to receive media attention because of the extent to which it affects employers and employees.

Van der Merwe explains that the impact and influence of degree mills is such that unqualified and/or people who acquire and use fraudulent documents can, and often do, secure positions ahead of those who have worked hard to acquire a legitimate qualification.

“An honest learner can actually miss out on employment opportunities. He or she may have taken out study loans and have, despite many challenges, worked over years to obtain a genuine, recognised qualification. The reality is because of degree mills or similar institutions, these people can be overlooked by someone who perhaps holds a paper-based qualification,” she says.

“Our hope is that the more people learn and understand about degree mills, the better equipped they will be to avoid falling victim to unscrupulous service providers and invest resources in what are essentially meaningless qualifications.”

How best to plot your career path

TO FIND the work suited to you while simultaneously building a tack record of experience for your CV, Lawrence Gordon of Kelly suggests the following:

  • Find part-time or weekend work while at school or college or in the first few months after matriculating.
  • Take even a low-paying job, because you will build up experience and get into a work routine.
  • Go for unpaid job shadowing – you can learn the ropes and if a position happens to go vacant, you’ll be there to take it up.
  • Take temporary assignments. Nowadays, many who enter the world of work prefer temporary employment. This enables them to enjoy varied work and gain exposure to several industries before committing to a specific career path.
  • For more information, visit or contact your nearest Kelly branch.

Checking out tertiary institutions

PEOPLE”S lives can be adversely affected by fraudulent tertiary institutions or so-called “degree mills”.

Consumers need to learn how to differentiate between a professional, credible and legitimate operation and a “degree mill.”

Managed Integrity Evaluation warns you to be wary of the following:

  • Lack of accreditation by nationally recognised accreditation bodies.
  • Institute names that are similar to those of legitimate and often prestigious schools. This is used to deceive prospective employers.
  • Extremely low course-work requirements compared with accredited institutions, with credentials awarded after little or no studying.
  • Academic legitimacy based on claims of affiliation with respected organisations that are not involved in academic accreditations.
  • “Lecturers” who themselves have qualifications from the “degree mill” or have legitimate degrees that are not related to their area of lectureship.
  • Marketing via unsolicited e-mail or spam as well as grammatical errors in marketing material.
  • Academic credit that is based on “work or life experience”.
  • Anyone who would like more information, can visit or call 012 644 4000
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