Digitisation and Digitalisation has essentially transformed our world of work and put many of us in very challenging positions, with many of us questioning: am I still relevant for this position? Or, is this role even going to be around much longer? While this may be a very troubling and distraught thought for many, we, at Wits Business School (WBS), believe that there is no need to fear.
Not only do we aim to remain relevant, but we are known to be among the leading research institutions in South Africa; therefore, we also develop highly credible and relevant courses and programmes that aim to enhance the relevancy of our delegates in their job roles and remain leaders in the business environments.
The overarching aim of WBS is to ensure, through quality and impactful programmes, that we are a force for positive change in our country and continent. WBS aims to become Africa’s global business school by offering lifelong access to Africa’s premier, globally-connected ecosystem in digital, technology, and innovation.
WBS stands at an exciting juncture: the world has undergone a seismic shift brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic; we are now living and breathing the once far-off fourth industrial revolution, and technology has connected us as never before. Moreover, climate change has forced us to rethink how we do business as organisations across the globe pivot from a profit-at-all-costs approach to one of environmental sustainability.
It is imperative for Africa to invest in developing future-ready skills for its youth while seizing the opportunity presented by digital disruption to drive inclusive economic growth and job creation.
Africa has also emerged as the fastest-growing economy in the world: it’s a continent rich with abundant natural resources – but it’s also a continent grappling with complex socio-political legacies. The challenges we face are significant, and the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the urgency of finding solutions. Poverty, hunger, quality education, affordable and clean energy, economic growth, and inequality are just a few of these challenges.
By 2030, Africa will be home to more than a quarter of the world’s population of under 25s and 15% of the world’s working population. Thus, it is imperative for Africa to invest in developing future-ready skills for its youth while seizing the opportunity presented by digital disruption to drive inclusive economic growth and job creation.
The future of Africa is in the hands of our youth. What will their world be like in twenty or thirty years’ time?
Operating from the heart of Africa’s financial and economic hub, Johannesburg, and as a leader in research in areas critical to sustainable growth, WBS has a powerful role to play in equipping young leaders with the skills they need to build the future they want.
WBS is preparing the business leaders of tomorrow to manage the continent’s economic transformation effectively. These leaders will facilitate the goal of our constitution for an inclusive developmental future for all of our people. This is the next leg on our journey as we consolidate our position as a leading African business school.
In looking ahead, there are many areas that will define our future, including: the transformation of executive education programmes, food security, ethical governance, the role of women in emerging markets, the capacity to innovate, the transition to cleaner energy sources, philanthropy, and resource mobilisation and small business development. Professional development is directly associated with skill development and enhancement.
Flexible learning is critical in professional development
Due to the dynamic nature of a rapidly changing business environment, we at WBS are positioned to adapt to new ways and methods of work, thus increasing the need to improve, adopt, and adapt new professional skills and competencies. The need to develop employees to adapt to this new way of work is becoming critical for all businesses and industries. There has never been a greater time for individuals and companies alike to focus on honing, developing, and upskilling their skillsets and knowledge base.
The need to develop employees to adapt to this new way of work is becoming critical for all businesses and industries.
The latest trend is to evolve dynamically through ‘flexibility’: flexible working hours, flexible places of work, and flexible methods of working. And so, too, has flexible learning come about. In fact, flexible learning has become crucial for professionals of all different levels of management or class. This has prompted universities, colleges, and other tertiary education schools to expand their courses, programmes, and training for professional development and enhancement through affordable and accredited partners.
These options now bridge the gap of training and development that businesses and companies alike need to uplift and empower their workforce.
What is flexible learning?
Flexible learning is more than just transferring a course to a digital platform for individuals to study at hours that suit their specific lifestyles. In principle, flexible learning evolves into flexible practices of formal education, increasing flexibility across the scope of requirements, payment options, time, and location of study, assessments, and certifications.
In considering digitisation, flexible learning can be a combination of traditional and digital communication, with a variety of modes and resources. This often comprises face-to-face contact, discussion boards, videoconferencing, print resources, etc. Flexible learning can be delivered through blended (hybrid) or online modes.
So, you may be wondering: why flexible learning?
Whether one opts for an online short course or attends a three-day workshop arranged by one’s employer, the participation skills learned in such professional development options tend to be versatile and transferable. Thus, flexible learning is the ideal solution for employers looking to upskill staff as well as for individuals seeking a career change or improvement in their professional skills for their current field of work.
Flexible learning is the ideal solution for employers looking to upskill staff as well as for individuals seeking a career change or improvement in their professional skills for their current field of work.
For professionals and employees, flexible learning is definitely the way to go. With short course and microcredentials on offer, you can advance your career through further study, without having to give up the work that pays for these studies. Career advancement through additional qualifications is a feasible and affordable option.
Flexible learning also offers various perks and benefits to both employers and individuals, some of which are listed below:
- allows learners to learn where and when it suits them;
- accommodates learners’ learning styles and preferences more effectively;
- offers a more comfortable learning environment than a traditional classroom;
- offers increased convenience and flexibility for learners;
- is economically viable, with lower total costs;
- provides training options that can accommodate business demands and needs for employers;
- increases employee (and student) retention and attendance;
- develops learners’ independence and confidence while improving achievement; and
- provides employees an opportunity to gain new knowledge and develop new skills.
Make flexible learning a priority
For employers, flexible learning for employees’ professional development needs to be prioritised. Learning should no longer be restricted to a single day or venue. Collaborative and independent learning opportunities, both scheduled and self-paced, are part of any good flexible learning option. Of course, this requires learners to follow such plans and dedicate themselves to tasks without distraction. To support them in this, employers should try to respect such plans and schedule work around learning where feasible.
Whether you’re an individual or an employee looking to explore flexible learning options, WBS is guaranteed to have a suitable course to meet your needs. WBS’s Executive Education series of courses is targeted not only at senior executives and executives, but managers of all levels who are looking to harness their skills and translate their knowledge into practical and eﬀective business solutions.
These course oﬀers greater insight into business leadership for the beneﬁt of your individual growth as well as the growth of the organisation. Our innovative and impactful Executive Education courses have been developed by industry experts and academics to help you refresh and hone your leadership skills.
Now more than ever we need to develop the right attitude, mindset, and skillset to think strategically and drive innovation. These programmes will assist you to broaden your perspective and to understand fully the forces that drive the new world of work.
The Action Learning Project, the Personal Development Plan and the Business Cases that we’ve included in the programmes will allow you to test and apply what you’ve learnt in your work environment. Our sessions are also more flexible as we moved away from the traditional approach of delegates being in class for hours and days on end.
Whether you’re an individual or an employee looking to explore flexible learning options, WBS is guaranteed to have a suitable course to meet your needs.
As part of the Executive Education series, you will learn how to improve your eﬀectiveness as a leader, how to apply strategic analysis to practical situations, and how to eﬀectively negotiate for what you want. Our programmes provide you with the best in knowledge, tools, research and practical exposure. Wits Business School aims to play a clearly defined role in the future of our country and continent!
Let us help you develop and grow your career.