/ 23 May 2024

TUT FM’s Plug-A-Graduate: Bridging the gap between education and employment

Kathrada, Moseneke And Madonsela Honoured
Plug-A-Graduate is an innovative feature on The Groundbreaker show hosted by Obakeng Moeketsi and broadcasting from the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve South campus. Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Deon Raath)

As the 2024 autumn graduation season draws to a close, the sound of the song Gaudeamus igitur reverberates through the halls of most South African institutions of higher learning, including that of my alma mater, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

Alumni at my current tertiary institution of choice, Unisa, are also singing the song, the title of which means “let us therefore rejoice”.

In respect of job prospects, the graduation season is set against the backdrop of an unemployment rate of 32.9% for the first quarter of 2024, according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey results released by Statistics South Africa. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recorded the country’s unemployment rate at 33.5% in April 2024.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana projected a real GDP growth of 0.6%, the IMF 0.9% for April and Stats SA a 0.1% quarter to quarter growth for Quarter 4 of 2023.

With this in mind, my focus now tilts towards the TUT FM 96.2 Plug-A-Graduate segment. 

Plug-A-Graduate is an innovative feature on The Groundbreaker show hosted by Obakeng Moeketsi and broadcasting from the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve South campus on Wednesdays from 7pm to 9pm. It is thanks to the digital era, that listeners can tune in from anywhere in the world. 

The radio segment made its debut on 10 April this year and is a partnership between the station, TUT Alumni Relations and Fundraising under the Advancement and Partnerships Directorate, as well as the Directorate: Cooperative Education. 

Its aim to empower graduates and bridge the gap between studies and employment or even entrepreneurship is hitting the right chords as it is appropriately aligned to the linkage between the United Nations sustainable development goals four, “quality education”, and eight, “decent work and economic growth”.

The feature has so far provided invaluable insights, practical skills and real-time job opportunities through guest experts. Discussion topics ranged from industry preparation, what to expect in the world of work and the effect of work integrated learning programmes on entrepreneurial skill development (things recruiters look for when going through job applications, and world of work readiness) and information and communication technologies.

It is heart-warming that guest experts on the show have so far largely come from the TUT alumni community.

TUT FM 96.2 apparently started in 1992 through an experimental broadcast by Emmanuel Mogashoa, Fantas Mobu, Hector Motau and Zola Ntolosi from the student cafeteria during the Technikon Northern Transvaal (TNT) era. 

The quartet’s pioneering act resulted in the 1993 application for a Frequency Modulation (FM) transmission licence. In this regard, the then student representative council (SRC) president Robert Nkuna, media officer Shonisani “Ashifashabba” Muleya and Thabo “T-Bose” Mokwele were part of a delegation to the Independent Broadcasting Authority (now the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa – ICASA).

My recollections of the campus radio station date back to the TNT days. I had a stint as a Northern Sotho news reader at the radio station in 1997 when I was studying journalism. 

If one casts their minds back, several people went through TUT FM 96.2, with most going on to establish themselves on the country’s radio scene. Names such Muleya, Mokwele, Greg Maloka, AK Tshabalala, Ike Ngobeni, Paena Galane, Mafatshe Magoai, Thelma Hlongwane (Ngobeni), Mmanaledi Mataboge-Mashetla, Palesa Manase (Moletsane), Boitumelo Korogo, Zac Malumedzha and Ntombi Dina (Mngomezulu) come to mind.

Through Plug-A-Graduate, surely the career prospects of TUT graduates who are seeking employment or aspiring to embark on an entrepreneurial journey will be on course. The show promises to save time for prospective employers through matching them with the right candidates.

It would be gratifying to have TUT alumni continue coming through to say #LetsPlugYou. 

Malesela Maubane is a TUT alumnus and a Unisa development studies postgraduate student.