Regional and Economic Development Project Orientation
The aim of the information-sharing session was for facilitators and administrators of the project to enlighten the 36 incoming students about what was expected of them and to equip them with knowledge vital for their success in the two- year journey that will shape them into future leaders in the local economic development sector.
RLED Project Manager, Dr Jennifer Houghton, said the orientation was a way to get the students acclimatised at the School.
‘Orientation gives students an opportunity to get to know the academics they will be working with as well to meet each other. I took the students through a creative exercise called LED Mapping where they got to think about what they will be working with during their time here and how it will contribute to sustainable economic growth and development. We are looking forward to what they have to deliver,’ said Houghton.
She also encouraged students to take advantage of the six scholarships on offer for postgraduate diploma students and masters students.
At the orientation programme students were informed about applications and procedures; introduced to systems thinking by Dr Stan Hardman; met their lecturers; received a perspective from past and present students and were taken on a tour to familiarise them with the campus.
Former students - Ms Lungelo Dhladhla, who is now the Chief Executive Officer of Mindset Concept Production House and Mr Andile Biyela, now the Assistant Director: Community Services at the Department of Economic Development Services based in Nkandla - told of how the skills they learned from the project had benefitted their careers.
‘The things I learned from the project expanded my way of thinking in business,’ said Dhladhla. ‘I am now able to understand how the project I am working on will benefit the community and the stakeholders. It has also empowered me to turn the ideas and concepts I had when I entered the programme into viable projects and given me an opportunity to network with other practitioners in my field.’
The pair advised the students to be realistic about time management and planning.
‘You have to be able to juggle everything and give up on socialising because there is a lot of work to be done but the benefits are worth it. You don’t only learn about LED but you learn how to refine your writing, so you are groomed to be a better scholar,’ said Biyela.