GSB&L Celebrates the Success of its LED Programme
The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) held an awards function on the Westville campus to celebrate the strides it has made in Local Economic Development (LED) education through its partnership with the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DEDTEA).
The celebratory function highlighted the success of the Regional and Local Economic Development (LED) Initiative which has played a vital role in developing capacity building and harnessing the skills of RLED practitioners required for sustainable economic growth and development.
GSB&L Acting Dean and Head, Professor Kriben Pillay, said the programme continues to play a vital role in producing research and skilled RLED practitioners who in turn contribute to a number of organisations where they work or practice and towards the future of the economy.
RLED Project Manager, Dr Jennifer Houghton gave an overview of the programme which currently includes welcoming 36 news students, their third group of social entrepreneurship champions as well as 10 new young researchers in 2015.
‘Today, we are celebrating the hard work of people who create change in people’s lives and play a valuable role in growing the economy. We have accomplished a lot as an experimental programme and we are still growing,’ said Houghton.
She also highlighted that the School is excited to see the partnership with the DEDTEA bearing fruit as the project will be graduating five full time research masters, eight coursework masters students and 18 postgraduate diploma students at this year’s Graduation ceremony.
‘These programmes bring together business practitioners, government officials and academia and produce graduates who are abreast of issues in LED and are instrumental in solving complex issues in this field.
We are proud of the fact that we are equipping these practitioners with knowledge and skills and we hope that they will continue to engage with this programme and create the path for others to follow,’ added Houghton.
The event also created a platform for postgraduate diploma student Ms Rosheila Thomas, Master’s student, Mr Mandla Mkhungo and young researcher, Mr Sinakho Mpanza to share how they have benefitted from the programme.
Thomas said the two year journey opened a new world for her as the research equipped her with new knowledge of how she, as an LED practitioner at Emnambithi-Ladysmith Local Municipality can contribute to the fights against poverty.
‘This partnership is a golden opportunity for us practitioners as our research taught us what we can do to address the challenges in our communities. The knowledge we have gained has changed our outlook and how we contribute to our work. As we speak, I have been able to turn my research into a project which is currently being adopted by the municipality, this would not have been possible if I was not part of this programme,’ she said.
Mkhungo and Mpanza thanked the academic and administration staff for supporting them through their studies and encouraged LED practitioners to join the programme and enhance their potential.
The ceremony also saw the introduction of the 2015 cohort of young researchers and the new intake of champions who will be mentored by Professor Shahida Cassim. Awards were given to students with outstanding performances.