Study on Impact of Industry 4.0 on Employment Earns Graduate Cum Laude Master’s Degree
After sending out many job applications - which all proved unsuccessful - Ms Yamkela Nhleko took a decision to continue with her studies rather than stay at home.
She continued working towards her master’s degree and along the way, used skills acquired during her research to assist in a project she co-founded with a friend, Ms Nondumiso Mjweni. The project, titled: Intsika Yomhlaba, aims to assist learners, especially living in underdeveloped communities, to apply for admission to Higher Education Institutions and to take advantage of bursary opportunities.
Nhleko has now obtained her Master of Commerce in Management degree cum laude for her study titled: The Impact of Industry 4.0 on Entrepreneurship Education and Higher Education: Perspectives of Undergraduate Commerce Students. In her work, she sought to investigate the impact the 4th Industrial Revolution could have on Entrepreneurship Education in Higher Education Institutions (HEI)s, and how undergraduate students perceive actions taken by HEIs to produce graduates equipped for the new world of work which is characterised by constant innovation and complexity.
Industry 4.0 is thought to offer opportunities to address some of the many global challenges to job creation which is particularly important and relevant for a country like South Africa where there is an imbalance between skills demand and supply, a high unemployment rate, and increasing pressure to train and employ the youth.
Through her work, Nhleko became a member of UKZN’s SHAPE (Shifting Hope, Activating Potential Entrepreneurship) - an action research project at UKZN founded by Dr Thea van der Westhuizen, who was Nhleko’s supervisor.
‘My work is adding to the body of knowledge by fellow researchers within this project and hopefully, will contribute towards our local socio-economic development,’ she said.
Nhleko is the youngest in her family and the first to graduate. She hopes this encourages others in her family and community of Gcilima at Margate on the KZN South Coast to further their studies.
She thanked her mother who has been her source of strength throughout.
Nhleko is currently an intern at the eThekwini Maritime Cluster.
Words: Lungile Ngubelanga