Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is a strategic priority to Boland College. One of the reasons that the WIL Team at Boland College views this as strategic is because this phase in the student’s training may be considered one of the key thrusts into ensuring that students are work-ready and hence trained for employment.

At the end of July the WIL Department had their Official Launch in the form of an Industry Breakfast that was held at Worcester Campus. The purpose of the Department Launch was threefold: 1) to thank current host employers for their participation in the WIL project, 2) introduce WIL to possible host employers, highlighting the benefits of partnering with Boland College and 3) sharing the Boland College Strategic objectives with regards to WIL. With financial support from the National Skills Fund (NSF) Boland College is able to finance a limited number of student stipends for a duration of 18 months.

Mrs Corrie Myburgh, Boland College Principal gave the keynote address with the focus of her address being the Ministerial mandate of WIL with special reference to Boland College Strategic Goal 3: Increase the number of students successfully entering the labour market upon completion of training. Mrs Myburgh’s vibrant and relevant address echoed the Minister’s slogan of “turning every work place into a learning space”. She urged employers to become part of the WIL project and highlighted the benefits thereof and how employers could play an integral part in directing the training that Boland College provides towards the needs of the industry

One of Boland College ‘products’, Janeen Williams who studied Human Resource Management N6 and is currently employed at Worcester Abattoir for WIL, spoke about what it meant to her being part of the WIL project. She highlighted how through the WIL project she is able to gain relevant work experience that will enable her to apply for her National Diploma. Janeen echoed that the opportunity at the employer might have never come her way was it not for the support of the WIL project. With Janeen’s 18 months quickly drawing to an end, she received the good news that she is being considered for permanent employment in the Human Resource department at Worcester Abattoir. This achievement is definitely the outcome of joint hard work by the student and the support of the WIL Department.

Mr Paul Greyling, Headmaster at Pioneer School for the Visually Impaired in Worcester, spoke about his school’s involvement with the WIL project and how they benefited from the partnership with Boland College. He spoke about how they had to ‘mix and match’ the students skills with the operations in their institution and how they all continue to learn from one another. The Pioneer School has one of two printers in South Africa where text books are printed into Braille. One of our students had the privilege of working in the printers and received training in proofreading. This is a skill that will most probably make her the first black female in South Africa that is able to proofread Braille. Mr Greyling gave vital feedback to Boland College on how we could improve our current Work Readiness training that all exit levels students receive.

“We are excited about our students entering workplaces as WIL candidates and then being offered permanent jobs even though that is not the main aim of WIL,” said Wendy Adams, Vice Principal: Innovation and Development at Boland College. She added: “What is even more exciting is that what started as placing students for practical experience has led to valuable partnerships, employment and additional exciting projects where host employers further add additional skills to our candidates. We look forward to taking these partnerships forward and rolling out these large scale networking events and showcasing our successes at all our other sites of delivery”.

Johan Ryk, Corrie Myburgh and Christo Cordier at the launch.