Jobseekers need not be limited by their education or lack thereof. They should make the most of technology, and move beyond simply relying on their formal education, to include online short courses in their arsenal.
Online short courses are an effective way of connecting local youth with world-class quality education. They also equip jobseekers with practical digital skills sought by employers, which makes them stand out from the crowd and improves their chances of finding employment.
The job market is highly competitive and employers look for candidates with unique skillsets that set them apart from the rest of the talent pool. The internet has broken the barriers to accessing information and education on a large scale.
The courses provide a productive outlet for job seekers – some of whom have been unemployed for months or years – giving them hope. The courses may also improve the career prospects and upward mobility of those employed in entry-level jobs who need additional skills in order to progress.
Newly acquired skills do more than simply reinforce a candidate’s resume, they also portray the jobseeker as someone who is ambitious and not afraid of new challenges.
People who engage in online or distance learning programmes demonstrate time management skills, personal accountability and discipline, which are viewed favourably by employers and will help them stand out from the sea of other job seekers.
Access to the internet can be a barrier into the job market. I suggest that to get around this, candidates use free Wi-Fi at their local libraries, malls, restaurants, and various youth development centres to access online courses.
The following sites offer online courses in various disciplines, which can help bolster candidates’ relevancy in line with current organisational trends and make them more employable:
- MOOC – Massive Open Online Courses, provide free online courses, available for anyone to enrol. MOOC provides an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills and advance one’s career. Universities that offer MOOC include the University of Cape Town, UNISA, Harvard University through Harvardx Courses, and Yale University’s Open Yale Courses, among many others.
- MOOV – Massive Open Online Varsity, is a project by the City of Johannesburg known as Vulindlel’eJozi, which is aimed at creating access to smart education by offering courses in the digital space. MOOV is a local forum which harnesses the global phenomenon of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). MOOV offers students the opportunity to pursue this type of learning in a campus environment.
- Codecademy – is a website dedicated to teaching coding. This is a great site for anyone interested in learning or improving their IT programming skills. While other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material and see the results of your code live on the screen.
- Coursera – is a website that partners with universities and organisations around the world to make learning accessible online. It brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database. As a result, the website has a wide range of in-depth courses. Coursera is useful to those who are looking to study various topics or are interested in courses from different schools and groups.
- Udemy – free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but allow users to build custom courses from lessons. Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customisable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This site provides free and paid content, meaning that not all the courses are free.
- Digital Skills for Africa – is a Google initiative in conjunction with various training partners, which aims to train young people in Africa in digital skills. Digital Skills for Africa aims to empower both students and entrepreneurs with skills such as running an online business, social media, coding and interview skills.
- Khan Academy – is a non-profit educational organisation that provides free video tutorials and interactive exercises. Khan Academy is a great place to brush up on your maths, science and language skills and so much more.
- Alison is a free educational site that provides certification in various areas such as health, IT, photography, marketing and business.
- Academic Earth offers a comprehensive collection of free online college courses from leading universities around the world, with dozens of disciplines and courses to choose from.
These courses place knowledge at the fingertips of all users, not only expanding their horizons, but improving their employability.
Candidates should take advantage of these opportunities to upskill and differentiate themselves from the highly populated pool of unskilled or inexperienced jobseekers.