Undoubtedly one of the largest culture-shifting phenomena of this generation, COVID-19 has forced us to rethink the way we do things. It’s changing the way we meet, affecting education and transforming our work places. Of all its disruptions, the ushering in of innovative learning systems could be the pandemic’s silver lining.
Happily, SACAP is a trailblazer in this dazzling new arena. In managing the initial lockdown crisis SACAP moved its face-to-face campus courses online so that students could continue with their studies without missing a beat.
The upshot? 2020 has seen SACAP develop opportunities that underscore its commitment to a person-centred approach to learning even further. Siphelele Mushwana, 22, concurs. She is in the final year of her Diploma in Counselling and Communication Skills. “The intimacy of SACAP’s learning environment accommodates my personality as I don’t love to be around crowds,” she explains. We chatted to Siphelele about her academic journey so far.
Siphelele on Starting out
Siphelele hails from Braamfischerville in Soweto. Where she says she worked stints as a hostess, a makeup artist and also sold perfume to fund her studies. “It’s been a real rollercoaster ride!” she exclaims. “To be on my last module at SACAP truly is a blessing for me.”
Psychology has always been an attractive career route for Siphelele who is a helper by nature, she admits. “I come from a background where people have struggled with mental health issues. I want to be able to intervene and I think that studying psychology will be a great place to start.”
Siphelele attends SACAP’s Joburg campus and says it’s a perfect fit. “The moral support offered by student services and student counsellors as well as via workshops is fantastic.”
She’s impressed by the depth of SACAP’s Diploma in Counselling and Communication Skills, too, and believes it’s a very comprehensive qualification. Beyond the fact that she feels counselling and communication skills are sufficiently emphasized in the course, she has thoroughly enjoyed developing her interpersonal skills, learning about management strategies and has especially loved the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) section.
Historically SACAP’s WIL is a very practical, hands-on experience. It’s an opportunity to apply the knowledge students have learned in class within a ‘real world’ placement site. Unfortunately lockdown truncated the original placement process, however, SACAP students were able to continue with their WIL modules virtually.
Currently in the first part of her three-part WIL module, which is largely theory based, Siphelele says she really enjoyed the virtual adaptation of the class – “It was such a good set up.” In the New Year she’ll commence with the second part of her WIL module. Which will be more practical and has been engineered to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions.
Despite the collective chaos that has marred 2020 Siphelele is grateful that she has been able to continue her academic journey at SACAP. “SACAP is a powerhouse!” She exclaims. “I have been nourished with so much knowledge and support, which has nurtured the inner, wiser woman that I am today.”
Community is key to Siphelele and she feels that studying for her SACAP Diploma has enriched the way she interacts with others. “It has taught me to be selfless and consider other people’s needs. I now know how to intervene in different situations within my community because SACAP has honed my communication skills – I’ve learned to listen and empathise.”
Siphelele hopes to graduate next year so that she can continue on her career trajectory. She plans to become a counsellor first. “I’d like to practice my expertise and run a non-profit organisation that fulfils needs in the community and empowers people,” she explains.
Long term Siphelele fancies the idea of becoming a qualified forensic psychologist. “I’d also like to be a mentor in the psychology field,” she says.
Skills like Siphelele’s
Where do you envision your career path is headed? If like Siphelele you have a strong sense of community and a real passion for helping those around you then SACAP’s Diploma in Counselling and Communication Skills is a is a well-rounded offering that balances knowledge with practical skills and experience.
SACAP has enhanced its person-centred approach to learning. Now offering three personal study options that students can choose from: On Campus, Online Flexi and Online Live. Each option features a distinct blended-learning approach. So that you can enjoy not only interaction and collaboration with educators and fellow students, but also engage with other learning activities on a deeper self-directed level.
Siphelele says she’s a real fan of the small, face-to-face classes she’s enjoyed at the Joburg campus. However, if you’re keen to explore the flexibility of online learning alongside structured real-time engagement then find out more about SACAP’s newly updated blended learning opportunities here.