My first encounter with Junior Achievement South Africa was in 2005 when I was in Grade 10 at Barnato Park High School in Johannesburg, Gauteng. My experience began with the Mini Enterprise Programme, which at first seemed like just another ‘fun’ extra-mural activity that would keep me busy at school when the school day was over. Little did I know that it was the beginning of a long-lasting relationship with an organisation that would help mould, carve, and prepare me for a future that I didn’t quite foresee.
The Mini Enterprise Programme taught me the fundamentals of going into business; it taught me how to be focused, consistent, and precise. It taught me about the market place, marketing strategies, profit margins, etc. When I completed the Mini Enterprise Programme I knew I still wanted to do something out of my normal school curriculum but didn’t know what next. Luckily for me the school announced that I had been nominated by my teachers to attend the JASA Success Skills and Banks in Action Programmes during the school holidays in 2006. These two programmes taught me about interpersonal skills in the workplace, managing conflict, working in a team and about the banking system which all came in very handy as a young employee.
In 2006, I was nominated to become a member of the JASA Youth Council. There I met Fulufelo Miswe who would later turn out to me my best friend for life. I also completed the JASA Job Shadow programme in 2007 where I was afforded the opportunity to work at Vantage Capital in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg. Through the Job Shadow Programme I was taught how to act the workplace. I learned how to interact with colleagues and learnt how scary board meetings can be!
All these experiences enabled me to secure a job at Amalgamated Beverages Industries (ABI) after completing my secondary education in 2007 and later on move to Aspen Pharmacare in 2009. Joining the workforce at a seemingly young age, my only tools were my learnings from the various JASA programmes that I completed. I was able to apply everything I learnt from the JASA programmes in real life situations in the work place.
Today I work as a Procurement Professional at Rio Tinto, a global mining giant, rendering professional services to their mines in Africa. My role at Rio Tinto entails contributing to Rio Tinto’s procurement performance as a safe supplier of services to its customers through engagement and active participation in Business Unit safety initiatives and ensuring that the Business Unit’s buying needs and strategies are achieved while complying with Rio Tinto’s procurement policies.
The future of this country and the continent as a whole lies with our youth, and I personally believe that there’s so much potential in each individual. Sometimes it takes more than just learning about Romeo and Juliet or the concepts behind Pythagoras for a high school child to have a feel of what the world out there is all about and be equipped with basic tools on how to tackle it. School taught me Maths and Accounting, and JASA further taught me among other things interpersonal skills and how to be a team-player. Fortunately for me, I was equipped with the basic tools that I needed to embark on this journey through the various JASA programmes I completed and I firmly believe that we can create a stronger, more empowering nation by exposing more of our youth to these programmes.
For all of this and more, I am eternally GRATEFUL!!
Thank you JASA