2022 Achievers

You’ve done it! You have completed the first leg of your great adventure and now it’s time for the next. Whatever the outcome of the first leg was, you needn’t think anything negative.

Here are some locals sharing about their lives post matric and how, even when their paths might have changed, they still stuck true to who they are.

Ané Groenewald
I studied Education – B.Ed Senior and FET Phase with Psychology and then did my Honours in B.Ed Learner Support at Northwest-University in Potchefstroom. This has been my chosen career path and I love it. I started teaching in 2017 at a high school in Pretoria and later relocated to Hoërskool Linden, where I’ve been teaching ever since the end of 2018. I, however, took a bit of a different path within the school and education and now work as the Marketing Manager for the school, whilst still teaching a few classes. To the youth: Be open to every opportunity that comes your way, no matter how small or insignificant. Sometimes you might not be able to see how certain job opportunities, people you meet and challenges you face fit into the bigger picture but know this – it always adds to the bigger picture of your life, teaches you something and helps you grow.

Earl Chad Koetz
I studied Media Studies/Practices as I have always been intrigued by media as a whole. From advertising, to marketing, to the analytics and just taking a deeper look into how/why/what makes a consumer buy what he/she wants or needs. So far, my life path has taught me action is the only thing that counts: Don’t tell me, show me! I’ve found in my life that the best way to achieve my dreams is by taking action. Planning and talking about it is part of it, but it will be a complete waste of time if you don’t take any action. You are who you spend your time with, whether you like it or not, choose wisely who you spend your time with because it’s who you’ll become. Something else I learned is that it’s not personal, it rarely ever is. When you stop taking things personally, you’ll feel better, and your relationships will improve dramatically. Even in cases when it is personal, your life will be better if you treat it as if it wasn’t. If you don’t believe me, I won’t take it personally.

Nonhlakanipho Nkosi
I studied Mining Engineering at the University of Witwatersrand and although it had been my career path since graduation, I am looking into career branching and incorporating Applied Maths, which is very close to my heart. My advice to the youth is: You won’t have your whole life figured out in Grade 12 when going to varsity. You may start off in engineering and end up in teaching or end up in culinary. It is not a downgrade- you are figuring out what fires you up.

Saskia Rosenberg
I studied fashion design at LISOF, now called Stadio. This did not end up being my career path, I got into the film industry, and it opened up the world to me. My first job on set was as a wardrobe assistant and from then when I saw all the different avenues I could explore within the industry. I realised my strengths could be utilised in production which through a lot of hard work and working my way systematically through the ranks finds me now in the position of executive producer. My life path has taught me that no skill learned is ever wasted. Nothing is forever and you can change the trajectory of your life if you believe you have something to offer and are also prepared to work for it. What resonates and feels right one day doesn’t mean in five years from now will feel the same way. So always keep your mind open to what the world presents to you and guides you towards. I have learned that I am braver and more resilient than I think and am continually growing and changing. Change can be scary but if we don’t push ourselves what’s the point? We don’t need to have it all figured out in our teens or twenties… that’s what your adult life is for

Boitumelo Motimele
I studied office management and technology and what I studied is my current career path. If there is anything I learned post-graduation it’s that it’s okay to take a gap year and decide what you want to do at your own pace. Figure it all out as you go, there is no remedy to success just go about it your own way and flourish however you feel best suits you as a person. Choose something you feel you are very passionate about and you look forward to every day. When you get out of bed, it puts a smile on your face while putting some money in your pocket as well. If you have it all figured out that’s also great and you heading in the right direction. Everyone is different, but it’s great to be happy while doing something

Aiden Kade Sayed
I studied a diploma in Software Development at Boston City Campus. Since then, my career path has broadened and offered many choices from the time I started working I was exposed to various job environments such as teaching, law, IT, design, and manufacturing. My career path, as it is now, is aimed at developing myself to become a freelancer or entrepreneur in the near future. My life path thus far has taught me that what you become is always more valuable than what you get. Understanding yourself is the beginning of progress. Patience with yourself and your goals is important and the negatives in life are normal. Celebrate your small achievements and not only the big ones. Take every opportunity that comes your way and always stay true to yourself.


From learning to earning: How to prepare young people for the world of work

An ongoing talent shortage is forcing South African organisations to relook at the way they recruit, train, and retain staff.
Research shows that people under 35 are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2030. The need to successfully handle a much younger workforce has become ever more important especially as older, more experienced employees exited the workforce during the pandemic.
Having fresh young talent is crucial to the success of a business, setting it apart from competitors. What is not so obvious is that more than a quarter are likely to quit in the first three years of joining an organisation.
Prudence Mabitsela, co-founder and managing director of Dynamic DNA, a 51% black female-owned, B-BBEE level two accredited QSE training and skills development provider, explains this is not just because young graduates lack the skills needed to adequately perform during the early years of transitioning to employment. “Those businesses who want to survive need to know how to reduce attrition amongst this newly trained workforce and it begins by looking within.
“Many organisations today are severely limited when it comes to capacity, experience and resources. This means they are unable to successfully mentor and coach new talent – especially through a learnership process.
“Also, they don’t properly measure their output and performance and this greatly hampers young employees’ transition from learning to earning,” says Prudence. Another major problem is the lack of enthusiasm and commitment from relevant internal departments to absorb and allow fresh new talents to learn and grow.
“This is especially a problem in decentralised businesses where other teams and departments often fail to see the long-term benefits a younger workforce will have on their resources and outcomes,” adds Prudence.

According to Prudence, there are four ways businesses can ensure a smooth transition for young workers in their workplace:

You want to align these to potential learning qualifications and socio and enterprise development initiatives currently available on the market. This will not only give learners the opportunity to secure a qualification that guarantees them a job, but also means the business can develop a strong and skilled pool of talent for the future and benefit from relevant tax rebates and skills spend for their BBBEE compliance imperatives.

“Companies need to take a more proactive approach to their recruitment process,” says Prudence. “It begins from the onset with making a clear set of requirements and a thorough vetting process that only selects those candidates that will fit in with the culture and ethos of the business.”
Once on board, these new talents need to be given clearly defined KPIs and development opportunities which will help foster a sense of belonging and pride and boost confidence and morale.“Graduates need to feel more than just a number or name on a tick box, but a valued resource.”

Companies need to look at the individual components and departmental gaps holistically to see how they can beneficially feed into each other when it comes to allocating experienced and committed mentors to recruits.
“Young workers can become despondent if they do not have regular reviews on their input and performance. This engagement makes all the difference to their outcomes. Feeling acknowledged feeds into their passion to become more and paves their way into the business,” adds Prudence.

Managing staff is an integral part of ensuring the successful completion of their learning journey, ensuring each candidate is well equipped with the knowledge of their role and responsibilities.
“Good management will help dictate how serious an employee is taking their new journey and identify possible further mentorship opportunities, assistance and guidance that may be required,” concludes Prudence.


IT student hopes to inspire girls to enter STEM field

There is an urgent need for women to follow a career path in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
This is according to Willowmoore High School (Benoni) alumni Zaainaz Hansa.
Now an IT student at the North West University, Zaainaz was part of Vodacom’s #CodeLikeAGirl programme, which the telecoms company introduced in 2017 to tackle the widening gender gap in STEM careers.
She argued that increased participation of women in science-related industries will ensure there’s diversity and more inclusive solutions.
“The jobs of the future will require education and skill development in STEM.
“Sadly, with only 35% of STEM students in higher education globally being women, the gender gap hinders progress.
“Females can bring a unique and valuable dimension to this industry,” she commented.
“Despite companies like Vodacom making tremendous strides toward increasing women’s participation, a gender gap persists, with only 13% of female graduates in the field in South Africa.
“It is critical that as females we don’t stay in the shadows. We must emerge and make our voices heard.
“We must speak up when we feel discriminated against or when we see it. We must not condone it.
“When we speak up, we need to support each other so we don’t become isolated or victimised,” Zaainaz added.
She participated in and won phase one of #CodeLikeAGirl last year and Vodacom subsequently offered to fund her BSc IT degree.
“I’ve been involved with Vodacom as alumni, being afforded the platform to speak at phase two #CodeLikeAGirl 2021 iteration and at the #CodeLikeAGirl 2022 press release in July.
A voracious reader who’s always ready to challenge herself, Zaainaz hopes to inspire the next generation of girls who want to pursue a career in STEM. “STEM, especially coding, can be very empowering. This is no more a luxury but rather a necessity in the current context of our economy where unemployment is high and given the changing dynamics globally due to technology. “Through such skills development, women especially can become more liberated in the workplace and on a personal level,” she concluded.

Zaainaz Hansa is an IT student at North West University.

As the cost of living rises, here are some ways to save money while handling the rising price of extracurricular activities

It is common for children to get excited about signing up for new extracurricular activities at the start of every new year or term. Your child can do everything from horseback riding to martial arts, music lessons, and dance. Let’s face it, however, these activities are expensive.
Extracurricular activities help kids build confidence, self-esteem, and have fun, as any parent will tell you. Additionally, they can provide after-school care. This is why many parents spend a lot of money on their children’s extracurricular activities.
A study from Oxford Home Schooling found 77% of parents admitted they feel immense pressure to find extra weekly cash for activities, sports, tuition and clubs. According to the data, six in 10 (58%) parents feel they have to find the money because their children love their chosen activities, while 35% said they want to give their offspring every possible chance in life.

Which is why it pays to remember, extra curricular activities are just that extras, not necessities, so here’s how to cope as costs go up.

1. Be open with your children
No one wants to restrict their child’s activities, but with the rising cost of living, we often have to make practical decisions. If cutting back on extracurricular activities is one of them, it helps to keep your kids in the loop.
Firstly talk to your child in an age-appropriate way about what’s happening this year with their activities. It’s always better to be honest and open about what’s happening, rather than leaving it until the last minute to tell kids they can’t take part. Talking about it teaches kids some good financial lessons about managing money. As ever, keep your discussions simple and age-appropriate – and be sure to ask if your child has any questions, so you can manage any anxieties they may have.
Talk to them about:
• How you have to prioritise your budget. Instead of saying, “We can’t afford it” – which could lead to some kids imagining you have no money – say, “We have to use the money for other things such as X and Y.”
• Discuss needs versus wants and how money has to be managed in a household. Be sure to emphasise how you’re all in this together and though you understand they want to do X, you have to pay for other things right now.
• Talk to them about how they can help by saving, earning, budgeting and making decisions about their spending. Perhaps they want to set up a savings goal for a particular class, or use their pocket money to pay towards sports equipment or a musical instrument.

2. Give them a choice
It can also help to give kids a choice of which activities to do. If you’re limited by price, availability or location, opt for an either / or option. For example: swimming or football, ballet or drama. Look for clubs that do early bird or sibling discounts or deals when you pay in advance, and prioritise those that don’t tie you into long-term contracts in case your circumstances change. All of these options can save you between 5 and 15%.
If you can only afford one activity, then take time to explain which is the better option. For example, swimming is a must for the holidays, a life skill, and one activity that opens up other activities such as water parks and various water sports.

3. Find cheaper alternatives
Not all extracurriculars cost the same when it comes to kids’ activities and clubs. So if you want to cut back, why not try to find a cheaper option. Ask on local Facebook groups, look in your local library and enlist the help of other parents in your area to find classes that fit your budget.
For example the following are lower in cost:
• Group lessons over private one-to-one lessons.
• If your child is learning to play a musical instrument, rent the instrument, rather than buy, especially if you think your child may lose interest.4. Be smart about extracurricular equipment
From martial arts uniforms, to ballet shoes, tennis racquets and guitars, there is always a parent who has barely used accessories and equipment that they will quite happily pass on. Don’t be afraid to ask on your local WhatsApp groups, and look on local Facebook groups.
*Source: GoHenry and Pexels.


Don’t rush into enrolling in a tertiary course before considering all the costs.

It’s that time of year when some matriculants are anxiously awaiting the results of their exams and starting to consider whether to further their education and get a technical or academic qualification.
Getting a qualification is a big commitment, both financially and the time and effort you’ll need to invest to get your degree or diploma.
According to a Careers Portal story on the high drop-out rates at South African universities, over half of the students who apply for university do not complete the first year. This high drop-out rate is not only due to poor academic performance but also because many students run out of money.
Education is among the top reasons people give when applying for loans with specialist loan provider.
Monita Zeterberg, communications manager at DirectAxis, says there are some important questions to consider before you decide to enrol for any post-matric qualification.
Unfortunately, many of these are financial and even with government funding for some students, affordability will remain a problem for many.
Starting a course if you can’t afford to complete it, makes it much less likely you’ll ever go back and get the qualification.
Whether you’re able to obtain a loan or bursary, there are still some important questions to consider.


1. Can you afford the university or college you want to attend?
You may have your sights set on a particular institution, but it’s worth doing some research. According to the BusinessTech website, first year university fees are on average R62 000, but this can vary considerably depending on the university and the course.
It’s sensible to research all the options that are available before deciding which is the most suitable. You can find a list of accredited institutions on the website of the South African Qualifications Authority and follow the Qualifications and Part Qualification link. Bear in mind that the most expensive may not always be the best option for you.

2. Other than tuition fees, what other costs do you need to consider?
Remember that in addition to the course fees you’ll have to pay application and registration fees. Some bursaries and funders do not pay these costs.
You will also have to pay for books, other course material, stationery and possibly a laptop or other device. Most reputable institutions will provide information on what you’ll require, where to get it and what it will cost. If you can, it’s also worth speaking to past students to confirm this information and find out if you can buy second-hand books or other equipment you’ll need.
If the institution is far from home you’ll have to budget for food, accommodation and possibly even data or Wi-Fi connectivity. If you’re staying at home, you may be lucky enough to not have to worry about rent, food or data, but may need to pay for transport to and from campus.

3. Are you getting value for money?
There’s more to tertiary institutions than just academic life, particularly if you’re planning to spend three or more years of your life earning a qualification. If you can, visit the campus beforehand to get a feel for it and to check out the facilities.
Ask about student support such as tutoring, guidance or career counselling.
You won’t spend all your time studying, so also consider what non-academic activities and facilities are provided. Find out what sports are offered and if there are other clubs and societies that interest you.
“Education can bring great rewards but registering for a tertiary qualification is a big financial commitment,” said Monita.
“That’s why you should think carefully about what you want to do and how the qualification will help you achieve this, before deciding on the best course and institution.”
* Source: DirectAxis and Pexels.


Lookout for institutions that offer unregistered qualifications

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) commended the class of 2022 for their resilience and drive to make it to this stage.
These learners and communities are reminded that access to further studies based on successful examination results should be at institutions of higher learning that are registered with the Department of Higher Education (DHET) and/or who are accredited to offer qualifications that are registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
SAQA is responsible for the registration of compliant, quality assured qualifications on the NQF, on the recommendation of Quality Councils.
To this end, SAQA’s mandate is to ensure that only registered qualifications are offered by Institutions of higher learning and that such qualification achievements are legally attained.
SAQA ensures that qualifications are appropriately registered on its website, while activities to quality assure the delivery of learning programmes leading to the awarding of the qualification remains the responsibility of the Council on Higher Education (CHE), who is the Quality Council for qualifications in higher education and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), the Quality Council for occupational qualifications.
Students and the public should be aware that institutions that enrol unsuspecting students for unregistered qualifications are breaking the law and may receive a fine or be forced to close business.
Institutions of higher learning and accredited providers may only legally offer qualifications or part-qualifications that are registered on the NQF.
To date, many students still fall prey to institutions who are not accredited to offer qualifications or who offer unregistered qualifications, be it in private or public domain.
Qualifications and part-qualifications are registered for a specific time period and institutions are obligated to ensure that the validity remains current in terms of all regulatory requirements before continuing to offer programmes leading to the qualifications.
Institutions of higher learning and accredited providers need to act responsibly by advising and informing their students about changes to the registration status of qualifications and part-qualifications they are offering.
Before enrolling for any qualification, it is also important for prospective students to understand the NQF level of their desired qualification.
The figure below indicates the different NQF levels, from 1 – 10.
“We continue to see unnecessary blockages to career and learning progression based on lack of knowledge and even intentional misrepresentation regarding registered qualifications and their access and articulation requirements,” said Nadia Starr, SAQA CEO.
“We therefore urge parents, caregivers and learners at large to first check if their preferred institutions of higher learning are registered with DHET, or in the case of occupational qualifications, if the provider is accredited by the QCTO, as illegal institutions tend to target unsuspecting and desperate learners especially at the beginning of the year.
“It is equally important for learners intending to register at any institution of higher learning to first check the registration status of their desired qualification on the NQF,” added Starr.
Students and parents can search the desired qualification on the SAQA website, www.regqs.saqa.org.za.
SAQA will continue to work with Quality Councils and other NQF partners to ensure that all South Africans benefit from quality assured and relevant qualifications.


Living on campus means finding balance between work and play

As many fresh-faced matrics kick-off their final school year, many are already contemplating the next step.
Will they be able to attend university? Will their Grade 11 and 12 grades meet the criteria? Could I qualify for a bursary? What course should I enroll in?
There are a plethora of decisions that need to be made before penning the first of your study notes.
Marcu Retief, a third year student at North-West University (NWU) and the former deputy head boy of School of Achievement, faced these and many more questions as the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic threatened to derail his future plans.
Through hard work and dedication, Marcu was accepted at NWU, qualifying for a full bursary through the Gauteng City Regional Academy to study Baccalaureus Educationis in senior, further education and training phase Mechanical Technology education.
“I decided to apply to NWU because an older school friend could not stop talking about the vibrant student life in Potchefstroom,” he said.
“While doing further research regarding the boarding options on campus, I was drawn to Ratau Lebone, which is one of the oldest and most celebrated male hostels on campus.
“It has is entrenched in rich traditions, boasting unsurpassed academic and sporting achievements.”
Recently elected as one of 10 members of the house committee, by 186 fellow residents, Marcu will oversee the university’s Jool and maintenance portfolio.
“This means that my team and I will be responsible for designing and building our house’s 2023 Jool float while ensuring that the hostel remains in tip-top condition in terms of routine and emergency maintenance,” Marcu explained.
“Being an active role player in the hostel means that I am actively working towards maintaining the positive image of our home away from home.”
Thinking back on his arrival on campus in 2021, Marcu admits that he felt overwhelmed and lost as he saw his family leave.
“Suddenly, I was alone to make my own decisions in a world of freedom, yet I was a small fish in a big ocean,” he said.
“Living on campus, I had to dig deep, hold on to my values and become independent. Fortunately, the house seniors, or dads as we refer to them, offered valuable advice and supported first-year students every step of the way. Their guidance and mentorship was invaluable.”
His first year was still one of great adaption with classes taking place virtually. A number of campus activities were suspended due to lockdown regulations.
Remaining dedicated, Marcu meticulously drew up schedules to ensure that he logged on for virtual lectures, submitted assignments on time while allowing adequate time for study and exam preparation.
“Balance is key. Yes, you do want to go out and enjoy time with friends, but these times are more pleasurable if you know your academics are up to date,” he said.
“True friends and house brothers will motivate you and respect your choices to skip out on social events to complete your work.”
Speaking of the most valuable lessons he has learnt since residing at NWU, Marcu says appreciating his parents’ trust was first and foremost.
“My parents supported my decision to come to Potch and my dad did everything in his power to assist me in securing my place and bursary.
“I do not want to break their trust by fooling around and not focusing on my studies,” he said.
“I want to be a student and house committee member that other first year students can look up to. I am a representation of my upbringing. I am proud of the values that have been instilled in me.”
Despite the long list of items needed to settle into on-campus living, Marcu says that there are three items no student should ever be without.
“My phone is obvious, as it keeps me in contact with my family and friends. However, I do not let my tablet out of my sight as all my books and modules are digitally stored on it. It beats having to lug mountains of books from lecture to lecture,” he said.
“Lastly, my student card as it grants me access to mostly every nook and cranny of the campus, from the gym to the library.
“It even secures discounts at certain outlets in town. As a student budgeting is vital and every discount makes the budget stretch just a little further.”


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