Firstly I would like to thank MUT for giving us this opportunity to take us to the workplace environment and to see the importance of the WIL program to their students. I would also like to thank Dosair Pty Ltd for employing me to gain experience. The WIL program really improved our knowledge as students because we got the opportunity to grow and learn before fully entering the working world. And it provides us with experiences, lessons, and the tools we'll need to get a full-time gig in the future. The university has done the great job for finding placements and allowing us to gain experience before we graduate.
The WIL program improved our knowledge and skills in terms of workplace environment, teamwork, problem solving, the ability to speak with people in a professional way, the ability to discuss and share views with a boss and colleagues, working hard no matter what you're doing, also improving our experience in an IT industry. These skills will help us in future when we face the real world, so at least we'll have some confident and picture of how the workplace environment be like. Therefore I recommend that all MUT student must be enrolled to the WIL program because it strengthens us to face the challenges in the workplace before going out the working world.
Changes to curriculum
In terms of the curriculum, every student must have Industry Exposure module on their final year of study. This module helped lot of students to write the CVs, how we should behave in a workplace, challenges we face during our WIL program etc. Before we started our WIL program, we all have the idea of how to deal with all issues that might rise during our WIL program and that help lot of students to complete the WIL program as well as contract.
Not all programs at MUT have Industry Exposure module on the 3rd year, so as IT students who have seen how helpful this module was during our lessons. We recommend that all students must be taught about the work industry before they're exposed to the real world. And I strongly believe that it might help lot of students because not all students have the work experience at Varsity so most of us need that experience.
Changes to the subject and content
These days, almost all students need to complete WIL program before getting a well-paid job. No matter what a student's chosen field might be, as MUT students we all have to complete an Industry Exposure module before we graduate. Therefore I recommend the University to make WIL program a required course. Though not all students might participate in this activity because some of them already have work experience but it'll improve the knowledge of those who don't have experience. Also make the experience much more effective because it can be incorporated as an integral part of the curriculum.
The University had done the great job for introducing IE module to our curriculum. The content of this subject helped us to make the connection between our studies and the world of work. Also improving our knowledge and skills that might help us throughout our career paths. Changes to the subject and the content should be updated continuously as the technology changes and improving, that what I recommend to the university.
Lessons/Technologies/Skills acquired during WIL program
My internship at Dosair Pty Limited was a great experience that allowed me to better understand the professional workplace and expectations that come with it. The knowledge I learned and experiences I had are highly beneficial for me. The employees were very supportive and friendly during my WIL program. They were very knowledgeable about Software Development and willing to share that knowledge with me so I would get the most out of my time with them.
Firstly, we learned to create a website. On the first week at work, we practice basic skills of creating website then the following week we created a Multivendor online stores. My colleague and I were given different domains so each person was creating her own store. We registered as vendors then we started working on our websites. Inside the website I created three different stores with products. I installed WooCommerce plugin, Elementor, Dokan, SmartSlider and Form contact plugins. I used all these plugins to design a store and I was really impressed that I understood e-commerce websites very fast though it was challenging at first. In September I created a stunning online store for my mentor's client named texcon.co.za. I was really excited that I can do business at the same time gaining experience. I learned a lot while I was doing that website, to communicate, to keep time and to work hard as much as I can. I added a Cart button so that people can place an order. My boss was so impressed on my performance.
Secondly, we did research on unemployed graduates. Since there are more graduates who are unemployed we decided to start iSpani project. Our aim about this project was to create a platform where graduates can be able to find internship opportunities so that they can acquire the necessary skills to be employable.
Lastly, we did a Market Research which is based on Call Ambulance app. The mobile app is called Respo. The aim of this project is to provide a mobile app solution for the private health care sectors. I gained lot of experience from this project and it improved my knowledge and working skills.
During my WIL program I realized that in-service training is not only beneficial for the knowledge that you obtain but also the networking aspect of meeting real professions in the workplace. I learned about the work environment, the manner in which things were handled, and how one should behave and carry themselves in the workplace. I had never learned any of that at varsity, this was all new to me. My in-service training was preparing me for the working world, and the best part was to adapt in an IT industry. I was finally getting an idea of what the day to day of my career would be like, the tasks I would be expected to perform, the type of people I would be expected to speak with and the manner I would go about doing that.
On my first day at Dosair Pty Ltd I didn't know anything about WordPress (a platform that is used to create websites). My mentor was much friendly and kind such that he taught us different plugins we can use to create website. I worked hard learning to apply those plugins such that I can now create a stunning website using WordPress.
• Adaptability – I learned to adapt to a workplace environment though it wasn't easy at first, but through socializing with people made to adapt really fast.
• Respect – respecting everyone in the workplace was the most important key.
• Communication Skills – I learned to communicate with people and it helped me a lot because we can easily teamwork when we're good at communicating to each other.
• Problem solving - sometimes we were given work at a short notice and we were expected to complete the task before deadline. My solution was working overtime and it worked.
• Time Management – keeping time was really important because sometime we had meetings. I also learned to complete task before deadline.
Challenges experienced during WIL program
1. The First day at Work
Day one was like the first day at school. I arrived way too early and dressed formally and carefully on my best professional attire because I know first impression matters. I was so excited that I'll be on a workplace at the same time I was so nervous to meet new people and being in an office environment. Luckily, I wasn't the only one new at Dosair Company, my classmate and I were on the same company. It was the two of us who did IT in Communication Network, most of them did Software Development and one of them did Marketing. My biggest fear was that I'm in a Software Development company yet I did Networking at School. I started asking myself whether I'll cope in this environment or not.
2. Understanding Office environment & teamwork
Dosair is all about growing individuals, its teams and the organization as a whole to go from good to great. Working as a team really helped me a lot because it where I can see if I understood or not. For example, we had a Market Research based on the Emergency call Mobile Application. We were expected to write a report of 80 pages [minimum] and the deadline was the following week, meaning we had one week to complete this task. In that way, communication skills was the most important thing to us. We divided the topics from the table of content among ourselves then we started gathering data.
The challenge started when we had to distribute questionnaires to people, I'm expected to explain to each and every person about Respo project before they fill in the survey. It wasn't easy because some of them didn't understand the importance of this survey, some of them had lot of questions I couldn't answer because I'm new on this industry but I survived. The research helped me to find the things I'm good at, the areas where I could do better and, ultimately, helped me to grow. It also helped ensure that as an IT Student, I paid attention to the things that are happening around me.
3. Trust, Ask and Learn
At first, I wasn't really good at communicating with my mentor. When I needed help I would rather google it or watch YouTube tutorials. I was even afraid of asking the IT guys who did Software Development because I didn't want to bother other people with my work. But as time goes on, I discovered that working at Dosair is like working with a family of friends that I can trust. My experiences here made me realize that no one can help you unless you ask for it. This is an area that I'm working on, as I still find it difficult to ask for help. It's not that I think I am the best at everything, but when I believe something is my responsibility, I don't want to bother other people with my questions. Working at Dosair has taught me that sometimes you need help to make things even more awesome, and that it's okay not to be able to do everything by yourself.
4. Software Development Placement
Out of all challenges that I had, getting a placement in a software development company was the biggest challenge for me. I just thought I won't even last for a month. Doing new staff that is completely different from what I did at school was the biggest challenge. As a Networking Student I didn't expect that I would ever work as a developer but it happened. I never created a website before, even WordPress I didn't know about it. But slowly I learned what is it, how to use it and how to create a stunning website using WordPress with plugins. Though it was a challenge but I started having interest at knowing a little bit about programming. I realized that IT is too broad, I cannot limit myself from learning new things. I taught myself that having an experience in programming will be useful some other day. I can proudly say as a networking student, I also have an experience in Web Development.
...(download the rest of the essay above)