Motivational and thought-provoking conversations were the order of the day at Durban University of Technology leadership development seminar for 19 of Hlomisa Awardees at the Hilton Hotel on Saturday, 07 March 2020.
The Hlomisa Skills Academy, which was launched in November 2019, is centred around DUT’s pursuit for deliberate and effective talent management. The programme aims to nurture the skills of DUT younger people who have already proven themselves to have agency in their respective areas of endeavour. The Academy is meant to help the participants to further their studies, while simultaneously equipping them with skills and competencies that enable them to make a meaningful contribution to their communities, thereby improving lives and livelihoods. Activities such as seminars and workshops will be organised by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor regularly in a quest to help the Awardees with adaptability.
DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Thandwa Mthembu, who hosted the seminar, said that the Skills Academy forms part of the University’s Envision 2030 Strategy, with its strong focus on outcomes and impacts.
“We as a University should not only try to produce graduates, but the real test of our university is the impacts of those graduates in a society,” said Prof Mthembu.
The Vice-Chancellor praised the Hlomisa Awardees for their passion for change in both their personal capacity and for society. He encouraged them to continue to setting themselves apart from other graduates in this respect.
“Everyone who notices you out there making a difference will really see that unlike many other graduates from other universities there is something special about you. I hope that we will help you to get to that level, through engagements like this we will be changing our society,” said Prof Mthembu.
Dr Zikhona Tywabu-Ngeva, from the Nelson Mandela University, discussed the importance of personal branding to become a young professional that is set apart from the rest.
“There are many things that university will not teach you. I identified myself as a staunch chemist and it was the only thing I knew. However, along the way I had to teach myself a lot of things that were not taught to me at university. As a young professional and academic, I had to step out of my comfort zone and try to find ways to supplement the degree that I received, to become a better person in society, a better academic and professional,” said Dr Ngeva.
Dr Ngeva said that when going out into the work place, young people need more than their qualifications, but also other aspects of training that won’t be offered in their respective careers. She advised the Awardees to understand the environment of the organisation they are working in, and to furthermore live by the vision and mission it represents.
Dr Joe Molete, the newly appointed Director of DUT Midlands Campuses, outlined key qualities for individual success during the seminar. Dr Molete said that individuals have the wrong mind-set when it comes to money and often equate it as a source of evil.
“Many people want to run a non-profit organisation because they want to uplift each other, as most of us come from suppressed backgrounds. However, you have to have money to give money,” said Dr Molete.
Dr Molete said that his life changed when he changed his mind-set about money. He realised that there is nothing wrong with going after money. Furthermore, he encouraged the Awardees to ensure they are in a field that they are passionate about, in order to live a fulfilled life.
“Winning is like a seed planted in you, the seed needs to be in the right environment. If you put a seed on a windowsill, it will never give you fruits. The reason some people are not winning, is not a matter of them not having a gift but rather because they are in the wrong places,” said Dr Molete.
Dr Molete also added that the Awardees need to focus on their skills, so that they can be synonymous for one thing. He suggested that they summarise in one sentence who they are, which will allow people to remember them easily.
The Hlomisa Skills Academy will continue to hold skills development sessions with the Awardees, during the course of the year.
Pictured: Awardees alongside Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Thandwa Mthembu and speakers during the leadership development seminar, at the Hilton hotel.