A Witsie consultancy company is helping students gain work experience while they’re studying to bridge the unemployment gap.
Nineteen Wits students are currently gaining practical work experience through a consultancy that has been running on campus since May this year. They are the first generation of The Consultancy Academy, which is run by Wits students for Wits students.
The concept of The Consulting Academy was originally developed in Germany and this is the first establishment of its kind in South Africa. Lisa Sogerer, founding member of the academy in Munich said, “It was a great success in Europe, we’d like to see it expand across South Africa.”
The academy aims to bridge the gap where students cannot find employment because they have no working experience. According to Nosipho Nxumalo who heads public relations and design, The Consultancy Academy is both a company and a training ground.
The academy is currently working with, but is not limited to information technology (IT), pharmaceutical and branding companies among others. Additionally, Nxumalo explained that all students, regardless of their field of study are welcome to apply to become a member of the academy.
There is no charge to become a member of the academy and no academic transcript is needed according to Sogerer. “We’re not trying to engage academic marks but critical thinking,” she said. Students who would like to be part of the academy go through a series of interviews to determine whether they fit the criteria to solve problems of potential clientele.
Students receive training where they gain skillsets which are necessary to complete projects for companies which source students from The Consulting Academy. “Part of the training includes workshops sponsored by corporate companies in various fields,” Nxumalo explained. The skillsets gained through this training allow students to work on internal projects in preparation for external projects.
The academy is not a profit-making body, although they charge companies for their consultancy. “Students are paid for the work they do on a project for an external company and a percentage of the payment is used for the day to day expenses of the academy.”
The academy is run by a management board whom are students. The board consists of human, corporate and public relations, IT and a strategic commissioner who were elected democratically through self-nomination.
In order to apply to become a member students can visit the website www.theconsultingacademy.co.za