Wednesday, 19 November 2008

International Recruitment Breakfast promotes CPUT's international students and graduates


There are currently students from over 60 countries registered at CPUT. All will undergo experiential learning during their programmes of study. Many have just completed final year and are ready to make their mark in industry.

To raise awareness of the potential that exists in CPUT’s international students and graduates, the Office of International Affairs, Department of Advancement and Co-operative Education Unit recently held an International Recruitment Breakfast. The event took place on 4 November 2008 at the Hotel School Restaurant.

Representatives from well-known South African companies, including The Foschini Group, Pioneer Foods and Telkom, gathered to learn about the role CPUT plays in supporting international students, the increasing need in industry for skilled workers and the South African legal processes that facilitate the hiring of foreign nationals. CPUT International Affairs Co-ordinator Merle Hodges introduced the speakers.

CPUT Vice-Chancellor Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga, who delivered the Welcoming Address, emphasised the University’s equitable treatment of international students. “For CPUT, whether they’re international or local, they have the same status and fill the same requirements before graduating,” she said.

Dr Chris Nhlapo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Technology Innovation, Partnerships, Community Engagement and Academic Planning, drew attention to the challenge of bringing academic ideas to the marketplace and looked at how CPUT is helping tackle the country’s skills shortage.

Anton Noffke, a line manager at Omnipless, provided the guests with industry testimony. Omnipless manufactures high-tech satellite communications components. Boeing and Airbus are among its customers. Recently, Noffke supervised the work of a student from Swaziland and a student from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Noffke noted that despite initial language challenges with the French-speaking student, both students soon fitted comfortably into the corporate culture. They were enthusiastic, worked hard and put in extended hours.

He added that employing international students enriched his own working experience. “When you speak to someone from somewhere else you get a new perspective of life,” he said.

Thamsanqa Tshuduku, Assistant Director at the Permitting Division in the Department of Home Affairs, was the final speaker. Tshuduku has worked in permitting since 2006 and has helped process the documentation of many of CPUT’s international recruits. He provided an overview of the various types of residency permits available in South Africa and highlighted the requirements for study permits.

He said that although international students are restricted in the number of hours they may work in jobs unrelated to their studies, there are no restrictions on the amount of time they spend doing experiential learning.

Tshuduku drew attention to some of the ways that those applying for permits can work hand-in-hand with Home Affairs and make the process smoother, such as providing an English translation for documents in foreign languages and not waiting for the current permit to lapse before applying for a new permit.

“Please keep yourself informed. Go to our website. Check the amendments,” he said.

The presentation mentioned the newly passed Directive 31 of 2008 that states that holders of work permits may also do part-time studies. This will make it easier for visiting academics to both lecture and study at local universities.

Guests at the International Recruitment Breakfast were left with no doubt that tapping into the skills of international students is a viable way to add value to an organisation.

By Ilana Abratt

Photograph: (back row) Iris Dames, Home Affairs; Shaneen Bezuidenhout, Omnipless; Anton Noffke, Omnipless; Thamsanqa Tshukudu, Home Affairs. (front row) Vice-Chancellor Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga; Merle Hodges, International Affairs Office; Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dr Chris Nhlapo; Dean of Students Cora Motale.

Written by CPUT News