Student Support Cooperative Services

Student Support

At Berea Technical College we understand that there are a large number of reasons why the achievement of any one student can be adversely affected. The college is committed to identifying and addressing these barriers to learning and to supporting each student in achieving his/her full potential.

Our goal is to establish clear guidelines for the development and evaluation of programmes and services that will afford all students adequate academic, environmental and personal support, in the interests of ensuring that they have a fair chance of achieving academic success. Our focus is to engage students’ potential to prepare them to achieve their personal and academic goals and to develop responsibly and value-adding citizens of society.

Services are made available at the three important phases of a student’s career:

  • Pre – entry
  • On – course
  • Exit

This is facilitated through:

  • Direct engagement with exit level students.
  • Direct engagement with pre – exit level students to prepare work readiness for in-service and work-integrated learning experience.
  • To conduct research and engage with national issues and debates to provide an industry-relevant service.
  • Provide broad student – centred development and professional services programmes, training opportunities and resources aimed at enhancing the student’s academic experience.
  • Provide high quality, free and confidential services.

Cooperative Services

Cooperative Services is the umbrella concept for the cooperative partnership between the College and external stakeholders from industry, commerce, the public sector and the broader community. It aims to enhance opportunities for experiential learning and curricular engagement.

It integrates a student’s academic education with a practical work and service provision experience (experiential learning). Cooperative Services involves the College in a partnership with employers and the broader community who partner with it in the educational process.

It helps:

  • Build positive relationships with students.
  • Creates a learning community that values diversity.
  • Provides a helping hand to students, who often struggle with the school to college transition.
  • Aids with valuable learning and social skills.
  • Meets the academic requirements of the regulatory bodies and satisfies the requirements of the National N Diploma.

Cooperative Services Manager

The Cooperative Services Manager engages with relevant work- integrated learning coordinators in faculties, professions, industries and the community to support the identification and allocation of workplace learning opportunities.

Students may make initial contact with industry only when this is allowed by the Faculty and approved by faculty staff responsible for work – integrated learning. Students will be responsible for providing personal information about their placement to the monitoring and tracking system.

Work-Integrated Learning

Work-Integrated Learning and Experiential Learning (EL) is a central feature of the Further Education and Training Institutions as it is consistent with the terms of the Umalusi and QCTO accreditation.

It provides the opportunity for students to acquire and apply knowledge in workplace contexts. The employability of graduates has become an important global theme in the higher education environment as it is imperative for higher education institutions and Further Education and Training institutions to commit to the goals of the institution by capacitating students with the necessary skills and empowering them for the world of work. This programme describes the institution’s approach to work  integrated learning, outlines rights and obligations, and describes roles and responsibilities in terms of good practise and governance i.e. how workplace-based learning will be structured, supervised, monitored and assessed.

Objectives

Practical experience in industry or professional engagement is an important part of student learning, and at Berea Technical College it serves the following educational and professional purposes:

  • To meet mandatory requirements for professional registration and/or accreditation purposes.
  • To ensure responsiveness to national imperatives, industry and/or community needs.
  • To develop the core competencies of students through the integration and application of knowledge, skills, values and attributes in an authentic context.
  • To apply theory in workplace contexts.
  • To clarify or determine career directions.
  • To apply and further develop the graduate attributes in workplace contexts.
  • To enhance teaching and learning of employability skills.
  • To enhance the transition from student to the workplace

Workshops are help regularly to formally expose students for work-readiness preparation: Aspects covered include career planning, job search skills, development of CVs and letters of application, conduct in the workplace, and workplace legal aspects.

Student Placement

Berea Technical College will make every effort to facilitate relevant EL placement for students. However, the institution cannot guarantee EL placement. Where placements are unavailable or limited, the institution may develop options for students so that they may complete the programme. Such options may vary from programme to programme but will be consistent with established practices for EL in that programme.

The Workplace/Learning sites

All EL sites are approved by the institution (in conjunction with relevant professional bodies) e.g. ECSA. The approval detail which outcomes may be achieved at that site.

Industry/Professional Engagement

An Industry/Professional Interaction component tier of a course at BTC needs to satisfy minimum standards to ensure academic quality, namely, the student has the opportunity to interact with, or learn from, an industry partner/practitioner to gain knowledge and experience. The institution will facilitate the preparation of partners with regards to the requirements for EL (including student learning, assessments, monitoring and mentoring/coaching).

The opportunity for Work-Integrated Learning

  • Providing support to micro, small and developing businesses.
  • Showcasing the capabilities of Berea Technical College students as future employees.
  • Facilitating knowledge transfer between the College and regional business/industry/professions.
  • Opening up opportunities for further mutually beneficial interactions with other Institutions.
  • Opening an avenue for feedback to the College about the needs and interests of business, industry and professions.
  • Every undergraduate programme will include an opportunity for an industry placement or industry component.
  • Work-Integrated Learning is included as part of course-work, programmes as appropriate.
  • Where an industry/professional placement is a compulsory element in the programme, each student is provided with the opportunity to undertake a placement, subject to the student meeting programme-specific and course-specific requirements.
  • Where an industry/professional placement is not a compulsory element of the programme, the selection of students for work- integrated learning is based on merit, taking into account issues of access and equity and programme-specific requirements.
  • Expenses incurred by a student for the duration of their placement are the responsibility of the student.

Programme and Course Design and Pedagogy

Programmes and courses with work-integrated learning must align with the following principles:

  • Alignment of learning outcomes, learning and assessment tasks and teaching and learning activities.
  • An explicit link between theory and practice.
  • Collaboration between industry/professional partners, coordinators and lecturers, with a shared commitment to student learning.
  • Supervision provides appropriately increasing levels of autonomy for students.
  • Appropriate support for students before, during and after work- integrated learning.
  • Inclusion of generic and industry/profession-specific employability skills.
  • Clarity of expectations to all stakeholders.

Minimum Standards for Work-Integrated Learning

  • Industry/professional placement tier
  • A placement course at Berea Technical College needs to satisfy minimum standards to ensure academic quality, namely:
    • Relevance: The course is to involve a placement in an industry/profession, where the student performs work that is relevant to the programme.
    • Supervision and monitoring: The course coordinator is responsible for the ongoing monitoring of student work and progress, and the assessment of student learning and performance during the placement.
    • Assessment: Student learning is assessed by academic staff with input from the industry/professional partner. Assessment tasks should, taken together, provide evidence of learning and reflection in the workplace, and not merely vocational and/or professional competence.
    • Professional accreditation: Where applicable, the course needs to meet any externally-prescribed professional or accreditation requirements.

Monitoring

  • Appropriately qualified and experienced academic staff and the WIL Coordinator will visit EL sites to monitor students that have been placed for EL.
  • The students will be monitored as per the programme requirements.
  • Monitoring systems must include an early warning check to:
  • (Identify students who are in danger of not meeting all the requirements for the satisfactory completion of EL, and Identify unacceptable/inappropriate placement sites.
  • OLUM Programme will be used for monitoring and evaluation of the student outcomes

Assessment

  • EL assessment practices are aligned with the relevant Berea Technical College policies and procedures, that is, the Assessment Policy, and the Policy and Procedures for the appointment of Examiners and Moderators and any other relevant policies.
  • It is acknowledged that in EL all partners may not have formally recognised qualifications. Therefore, when appropriate, motivation for alternatives should be made through the Academic/Faculty Board.
  • All EL must be assessed through collaborative partnerships.
  • All EL must be moderated.
  • Accountability for assessments rests with the HOD’s and all requirements of statutory bodies/boards must be met.
  • Well-structured assessment criteria and procedures must be detailed in the learner guides and must be brought to the attention of mentors, both workplace and academic.
  • Assessment procedures must be approved by the Academic Board (supported by motivation).
  • Learner guides must clearly state the requirements for re-assessment of EL i.e. students who do not satisfactorily achieve all the learning outcomes.
  • The students will be assessed as per the programme requirements. Requirements for pass/fail will be clarified by the department. All requirements will be clearly stated in the departmental logbook.

Capacity Development

Staff Industrial/Work Release

Berea Technical College provides supportive interventions to the industrial/work placement of academic and academic support staff to update their practical skills and keep abreast of developments in the field. Such placements are also implemented as a staff exchange programme with a specific industry/workplace.

Holistic Work-Readiness and Skills Enhancement Programme

The Orientation of students for EL or graduate placement will be achieved via a Work-readiness and Skills Enhancement Programme.

Code of Conduct

Students engaged in experiential learning are subjected to the same regulations as to when based at the Berea Technical College and the workplace code of conduct.

Quality Assurance

EL in each programme is subject to same academic quality rigour as any other academic offering in the institution in alignment with the BTC’s Programme Review & Evaluation and policies and procedures and with the QCTO and Umalusi criteria as the minimum standard.

Development of Database of Employers

The WIL Office continues to brand and market the programme to prospective employers and maintains a database of Employers.

Internships

The Berea Group of Colleges’ Student Support Department was created to help students’ secure in-service training, to receive their qualification and embark on their chosen careers. Its core function is Cooperative Education which is a structured method of combining theory-based education with practical work experience. Cooperative education means helping students to make the college-to-work transition easier and to help our students adjust to what is expected at the workplace. Cooperative learning falls under the umbrella of work-integrated learning alongside internships and in-service training.