From A Mentor’s Desk: Educate 24 CEO Nawal Du Toit
CEO of Educate 24 Nawal Du Toit shares with us about this online learning platform, what her job entails and her success tips to young people
You were a fashion buyer for 19 years, what attracted you to the fashion industry and what have been your career highlights?
I’ve always had a creative spirit, and from a young age was passionate about design.
My highlight has been working with amazing teams to create products for the South African market, and seeing those items flying off the shelves. Knowing that we’ve been able to give our customers what they want, and satisfying those needs was hugely rewarding.
How did the opportunity to be at the helm of Educate24, as its CEO, come about?
I realised that traditional methods of learning and earning a tertiary qualification (college, university) are not always an affordable option for a large percentage of people in our country who simply do not have the money or the time to invest in long-term degrees. There had to be another way to help. Creating an online platform, where learners have access to the best, at highly affordable prices, seemed the perfect combination to bring about meaningful and sustainable change in an area where it really is needed.
Share with us exactly what your role entails as the organisation’s CEO
As a CEO, your roles are many, and they are constantly interchangeable. No day is the same! My primary role (and goal) is to ensure that we offer a comprehensive selection of the best content, in a simple and affordable manner, in order to help as many people as possible to either increase their chances of employability, or if they’re already employed, to build on their skills set.
How has the platform been received by the market since 2016 and who do you mainly target?
The reception was mixed when we launched. Using technology as a form of learning, for something that has traditionally been class-based is a huge mind-shift. There is always a bit of initial resistance to new technology. However, once they experience the ease of use of the platform, and see the advantages for themselves, the view shifts to a very positive one. In fact, we frequently have learners who do one course with us, and then come back and do another course. The feedback that we get from our learners is so encouraging!
Apart from affordability, what sets Educate24 apart from other online courses or training programmes?
- Our content is developed by top educators from universities around South Africa, as well as industry experts. This means that the quality of the content is of a high standard, and has a South African context.
- We are not solely an online learning platform, but also a career-enhancing platform. We offer a free digital CV service, which allows you to create your own professional CV which you can print out and use for interviews. The CV is digital which means that it remains on your Educate24 profile, and you can edit and adjust as your career progresses.
- You don’t have to have a matric to do our courses. Regardless of your standard of education, you can have access to ANY of our courses. We do not believe that the level you passed at school defines your potential.
- We also have an direct portal link to the top online job site in the country, Careers24. Users have the opportunity to apply for jobs directly on Educate24.
- We’ve specifically built the platform for mobile, which means you can complete the course on your mobile phone if you wish.
- Data cost is low. You only need a R20-R30 data bundle to complete an entire course!
- We also have a free course called Personal Management for Success, which does exactly what it says. Read the reviews on this course, people can’t get enough of it!
Are your courses endorsed and accredited?
Our institutional accreditation is in process, and should be finalised by early 2020. However, all of our courses are endorsed by the academics, institutions and experts who have developed them. Our Head of Academics Professor Elsamari Botha ensures that every single course is NQF-aligned, and adheres to academic standards.
What have been some of the highlights and challenges of Educate24 thus far?
- The amazing feedback that we continually get from our learners who have completed our courses, and found them hugely beneficial. In a few cases, it’s also helped to get them employed!
- The other highlight is our amazing partnership with Capitec bank. We offer a 50% discount on all of our online courses to Capitec cardholders. You have to pay for the course with your Capitec debit or credit card to unlock the discount. The beauty is that you can buy as many courses as you like and the discount applies. You can also help out your family and friends, by using your card to pay for their course (they can pay you back). We want to make sure that the benefit extends to as many people as possible.
- Making sure that our accreditation is processed as quickly as possible. Although our courses are of a very high calibre, the accreditation ‘stamp’ seems to count for a lot in South Africa.
- The other challenge has been to change the mind set of individuals to embrace online learning. The US has been engaged in online learning for many years, so it’s pretty mainstream over there. The sooner we Catch onto this, the more beneficial it will be to individuals, businesses and the country as a whole.
How many courses do you now have online and how many people have since registered on your platform?
We have more than 90 courses online. Our courses range from Business, Entrepreneurship, IT, Personal Development, Services and more!
Share with us some of the best career advice you have received in your career that you apply in your leadership role?
This is not only career advice, but advice for life as well. Do not engage and manage people according to your opinions and beliefs. Meet them where they are at. Each of us is unique, with a unique set of experiences, and a unique life path. Meet everyone on that path instead of imposing yourself and trying to get them to walk on your path. This is such a powerful lesson, and one that I do my utmost to practice daily in my business as well as in my personal life.
How do you define success and do you feel you have reached it?
Success for me is being able to provide the catalyst for success in others. Legacy-building is too ego-driven for me. I believe that the ‘legacy’ you create is reflected in how others thrive as a result of your help, kindness and compassion.
What are your success tips to young people, especially with regards to employment and education?
Keep moving, keep learning, stay relevant. As we move into the fourth Industrial Revolution, we are going to see huge shifts in the playing fields of big corporations which will filter down into small and medium businesses. Keep your eye out for these changes. Embrace them. Deepen your understanding of the work you do. Keep improving yourself.
For more information, visit: www.educate24.co.za