MUT alumnus writes a guiding book for graduates

Velaphi Gumede

Now a seasoned and respected Human Resources specialist, a far cry from the time he was one of the students at the University in the late 1990s, Velaphi Gumede has penned a book that he says is aimed at closing a gap between what students learn in the lecture rooms, and what they encounter at the workplace. Gumede, an Acting Chief Director: Corporate Management Services, Department of Social Development, KwaZulu-Natal, graduated from MUT with a National Diploma in Municipal Administration in 1998. Gumede went on to study an advanced diploma in Human Resources Management with UNISA, and a Master of Business Administration with Regent Business School.

Gumede said what motivated him to write the book was what he observed at the workplace and decided to do something to close the gap. The book is called ‘I’m Ready to be Hired – Graduate Career Guidebook’. Gumede was troubled by what was happening between interns and employers at the workplace. “My experience working with young graduates, observing them struggling to enter the job market, to performing well during interviews, and making adjustments in the workplaces, as well as understanding ethical conduct in the workplace I felt the edge to close the gap. This motivation came as I observed graduates sometimes stressing out because of the encounter in the workplace either strict supervisors, and getting overwhelmed with the policies they need to understand and implement in a short space of time.

Gumede said the common problems he had observed in the last 23 years; and termed these as “graduates’ inability to transition from tertiary life to adult life in the workplace. “Graduates do not research government departments, and the private sector, as their employers of choice. “Graduates also lack the understanding of government policies and fail to apply their theoretical knowledge in the workplace.” He also said that graduates must prepare themselves to understand workplace dynamics, how interviews are conducted, and understand communication protocols.

According to Gumede, the following are possible solutions to the problems: graduates must continue exposing themselves to learning opportunities after tertiary life. Graduates must learn new skills after tertiary life to improve on-the-job performance. “They must also attend workshops and conferences that will empower them with new skills. This way they will keep abreast of the latest work processes. Graduates should also look for temporary jobs, where they can gain experience in multiple settings. They can take up jobs at restaurants, NGOs, and community projects. Some temporary jobs can result in graduates landing long-term employment if they perform well,” said Gumede. He added that taking temporary jobs in various settings could also help the graduates to try new skills and to overcome the specific challenges of each workplace, potentially strengthening their abilities. Gumede’s whole book is a wealth of advice for graduates, and he believes that they should always be on the hunt for knowledge and new information to remain relevant in the marketplace.

Gumede will be launching his book at MUT before the graduation ceremonies, which will take place from 16-19 April 2024.