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E-Commerce: How tertiary education must change to meet industry needs

E-Commerce: How tertiary education must change to meet industry needs

The e-commerce boom shows no signs of slowing down, with FNB Merchant Services expecting more than 1 billion online transactions in South Africa during 2025. As more brands take their offerings online and consumers increase their online purchasing activity, there is a growing need for graduates with relevant e-commerce knowledge in the digital marketing and brand management space – a need that is not being adequately met by local tertiary institutions, says Cheryl.

Identifying and addressing shortfalls

“As an active employer of BCom digital marketing and brand management graduates I am acutely aware that there are serious shortfalls in the curriculum and the skill-set of graduates,” says Cheryl. “These graduates come out with little to no real world knowledge of the e-commerce journey and the same can be said for the levels of knowledge on all things Digital Marketing too. While they might have some of the theory in their heads, they don’t have any practical insights into all the different elements that make up digital marketing or e-commerce.”

Focus on practical

While she would like to see more agencies offering these kinds of learnerships, the challenge is that many of them have moved to remote working or hybrid office setups which makes valuable internships impossible. “You simply can’t have internships running remotely – it is all about being in the environment, learning from conversations happening around you and getting first-hand experience of problem solving in action,” says Cheryl, whose agency is “proudly onsite”. Cheryl says a lot of degree programmes overseas include a work experience year mid-degree and that this should also be considered by local universities and colleges. 

This article was first published on Marketing Spread.

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