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The Durban University of Technology (DUT) hosted a successful Career Guidance Day with Grade 11 and 12 learners from Bechet High School in Sydenham, Durban, last Saturday, 29 May 2021.

This forms part of DUT’s School Engagement Project, a joint partnership between DUT ICON and DUT’s Advancement and Alumni Relations Department, launched in 2018.

The vision of the School Engagement Project is to expand and invite further schools to partner with DUT in enhancing school education while providing practical and integrated learning opportunities for learners.

The Bechet High School Career Day entailed presentations from DUT’s Department of Co-operative Education, DUT’s Student Recruitment, DUT Human Resources, along with its partners Career Connect and Tomorrow’s Leaders in Training (TLT), offering learners more understanding about career assessments, how to apply for after-school study options, personal vision, leadership, career options, understanding the current world of work, how to build a CV and job shadowing.

One of the partners at the event was Career Connect which provides the cornerstone for career advancement and development in order to motivate, support and empower all youth into refining their careers and building hope in a future they can envision.

Jennifer Higgs, Founder/Managing Director at Career Connect Group said that the youth are so bombarded with technology which can be really overwhelming, so to give them access to information is key, not just from the actual planning and development and deciding of what their careers are, but for themselves as well.

“Once they see a glimpse of hope of the future, they work harder,” she said.

Director: Advancement and Alumni Relations Mr Zwakele Ngubane, said: “The School Engagement Project was established with a view to contributing towards the development of values-driven young leaders at high school level by focusing on academic support in gateway subjects, peaceful conflict resolution through Peace Clubs, Social Entrepreneurship and School Management Team support. These were the four pillars identified at the conception stage, however we have recently incorporated a sports pillar.”

Ngubane further indicated that the School Engagement Project team hosted an Esports tournament in May this year in partnership with the DUT Sports Department led by Mr Bongani Yengwa.

“We hope that in future, we will be able to host live tournaments as the pandemic subsides and it becomes safe to do so. This past weekend’s Career Guidance Day at Bechet Secondary was in fact a collaborative pilot project that was necessitated by the view and observation that many learners do not receive adequate guidance on how to prepare for and make important decisions regarding life, post matric,” he said.

He also said that DUT is grateful to have been able to partner with organisations like Tomorrow Leaders in Training (TLT) and the Career Connect Group who brought on board their expertise in this area to facilitate some of the sessions.

“We are also grateful for the invaluable support of Mr Alex Mdletshe and the Student Recruitment Department, Ms Vasantha Govender and the Marketing and PR Department, Ms Noxolo Memela and the Communications Department and the Co-operative Education Unit,” he said.

Berenice De La Croix, the Project Co-ordinator said the conversations on the Bechet Career Day started six months ago and it was amazing to have DUT and other partners like Career Connect and Tomorrow’s Leaders in Training (TLT), who have both worked voluntarily, and emphasised they wanted more learners to benefit from their programmes, on board. She said Bechet High School was very keen to be a pilot site for Career Day.

“I have been walking around to the different groups from learners, facilitators to teachers, the feedback is positive. Teachers have said that learners are finding it very useful and it was an eye-opening event, learners stayed for the full modules, and the school is happy we are running this and will continue and are happy with the partners involved,” she said.

DUT’s Alex Mdletshe, Manager at Student Recruitment said the learners were very engaging and eager to learn more about DUT and the processes of applications for after-school study options and financial assistance.

The Career Day was well-received by learners and the teachers of Bechet High School. The general consensus from learners was that the presentations made by various departments from DUT helped them to understand the various processes and qualifying criteria involved when applying for after-school study options through CAO as well as what career choices are available at DUT.

Grade 12 learner, Philisiwe Mnikazi, said she was really happy to be part of the Career Day event and was more optimistic about the future. “I am looking at the different career options and I would like to study in the field of Supply Chain at DUT,” she said.

Grade 11 learner, Sinizo Hlongwane, said she has learnt a lot, especially about good leadership and also that Business Management is offered at DUT which gives her more options in her career choices.

Grade 12 leaner, Aphiwe Mdletshe, said the Career Day was really helpful as she now has a clearer idea as to what she wants to pursue which is Civil Engineering at DUT.

De La Croix relayed further that the learners who have been to the Career Day needed to spread the word to other learners.

“I feel that everybody is a leader in that way and influence others positively and share what they know,” she said.

Abbie Gulston, principal of Bechet High School expressed her thanks and appreciation to all those who were instrumental in making Saturday’s event a resounding success.

“Our learners were impacted positively for their own greater good. Well done! The presentations reached the target market positively. Our learners are better focused to address the academic challenges to reach their dreams,” she said.

Ngubane also mentioned that special thanks and appreciation should go to Ms Berenice De La Croix, the Project Co-Ordinator, Mr Crispin Hemson (Project Chair), Mrs Fundisiwe Zulu from the DUT Human Resources Department (who facilitated a session on work readiness), Ms Waheeda Peters for covering the event, DUT tutors who have become exemplary mentors to the learners in the participating schools and the Hotel School for the catering and the Audio Visual Department for the required equipment to host a successful event.

“We must also thank our supporters and donors, the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research Innovation and Engagement, the Iqraa Trust, and the Albert Wessels Trust,” he said.

For more information on the Project, please visit our webpage by clicking on this link SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT PROJECT | dutalumni.

Pictured: Grade 12 learners from Bechet High School, Philiswa Mnikazi, Zama Bayeni, Minhle Mbiyozo and Sanelisiwe Khazi, at the Career Day.

Waheeda Peters

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