Community support, perseverance and hard work have landed Durban University of Technology(DUT) Mechanical Engineering graduate, Vukile Gumede a job at a mining company in Durban.
The 23-year-old from Mtubatuba drew attention of strangers two months ago when he stood for days at a busy intersection in Richards Bay, holding a sign with the words: ‘Please assist with a job or internship’.
When a Good Samaritan shared his photograph on social media, he caught the attention of employers as far as Mpumalanga and Gauteng. He settled for an opportunity at a surface mining company where he began working last month.
“I am currently a graduate trainee working closely with the production supervisor. My main focus is in maintenance, making sure all machinery is operating well. I am extremely happy about my new role because it is in line with my future career plans. Every working day I am exposed to different scenarios which challenge my thinking skills and help me grow,” said Gumede.
Sharing his journey of struggling to obtain his qualification and to exhausting all options to find work, Gumede said it has been the support of community members that has carried him through. He had previously attempted crowdfunding when he struggled to pay his university fees to complete his course.
“I studied Mechanical Engineering at the Durban University of Technology with support from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme NSFAS. They paid for my first year, but in my final year I was told to pay my own fees before I could graduate. I owed R69 000 and had absolutely no way of paying that to obtain my diploma. I then joined a crowdfunding website and shared my story with the hopes of getting assistance to settle the outstanding fees,” he said. Gumede said failing to get a response or donations, he decided to find alternative ways to raise the money, including working in retail.
“I then received an email one day informing me the R69 000 had been paid to the university through the crowdfunding initiative. There are many people in the country who wake up every day to do good and help others. I have been fortunate to have been at the receiving end of those good deeds,” he said.
Pictured: Vukile Gumede while he was still searching for a job. Picture taken from Zululand Observer