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Margarietha J. de Villiers Scheepers, Joanna McIntyre, Gail Crimmins and Peter English

New career paradigms require non-traditional students to develop their professional networks using social media, yet few use this opportunity. As career choices in regional areas are limited, the capability to connect in this manner is critical. We examine the connectedness capabilities of 210 non-traditional students. We find that students with work experience are more likely to have a professional profile, while students with part-time work experience are likely to use social media for non-professional purposes. First-year students are unsure of the benefits of professional networks, while final year students who have participated in work-integrated learning, have more confidence in their connectedness capabilities. Pedagogically, educators need to support students to develop their career competencies by influencing career aspirations and developing students’ self-efficacy, encouraging peer learning, utilising learning activities that facilitate the assessment of career competencies, as well as encouraging students to strengthen, maintain and leverage professional connections through work-integrated learning.