For matrics who experienced many challenges studying during the Covid-19 years, another obstacle is finding viable employment. To counter this, future matrics should consider undertaking a course that is in demand and has international possibilities.
Another option for those struggling academically or who are not feeling like they have found their niche, either in the existing environment or with regards to future plans, is to do a course that bridges the gap between matric and the working world.
Ayanda Raubenheimer switched from a government school to Waldorf as she liked the school’s approach, feeling that it allowed her more freedom and met the needs of each pupil and validated the choices of each. She also felt that the environment offered her more opportunity to be creative and expressive and treated each pupil as an individual with focused attention.
After graduating during 2020, Raubenheimer studied web design and web development at the Academy of Digital Arts in Bree Street, Cape Town. There she learnt about video editing and the use of WordPress for blogging, which she found quite versatile.
Students were exposed to a variety of programmes and production processes. They also undertook projects, gaining practical experience. This is where the emphasis lies. Students are encouraged to read and follow up on the course content.
Raubenheimer says she thoroughly enjoyed the course and learnt a lot.
She redid and fixed her lesson content as, by the end of the course, she knew how to approach projects in a more effective manner. The web design programme, xDesign, revolves around the user experience. The duration of this part is two weeks.
One week is spent studying profiles of users and their experience as they go through the site. Target market research is undertaken. Users include teachers and students and their motivation and the way in which they navigate the website (the user journey) is examined.
Course participants therefore learn to conceptualise, plan, design, prototype and test website layouts and apps. Digital technology is constantly evolving, not only is a foundation laid in industry-standard, user-centred UX and UI techniques and software, but also troubleshooting and continuous learning skills that students will need to be able to grow and adapt during the course of their careers.
In terms of design, interfaces are explored so students know what the users actually see. Raubenheimer found it quite difficult at first as she was not familiar with design principles and elements (fonts, colours and complementing the content and elements so they stay on-brand.
Students also approach the site from the back end to the finished project, which look completely different to each other. She says it took a week to set up WordPress.
Overall, she found the learning experience invaluable.
The course equips you with the freedom to work as a freelancer from the venue of your choice. It is designed to bridge the gap between education and working within the industry, resulting in tech-savvy students.
She is now taking a little time to consider what she would like to focus on in the future. There is the possibility of working for a family friend in a voluntary capacity to further investigate the daily realities of working with web design.