Our Youth Development Programmes: Siyazenzela and Umzi Wethu are focused on teaching core skills in the hospitality industry which will later on assist our students in finding jobs.
We recently caught up with two graduates, Vuyolwethu Mfini and Phumeza, for a quick interview to find out what life after Umzi Wethu and Siyazenzela was like.
Getting to Know, Vuyolwethu Mfini- 2016 Umzi Wethu Graduate
Vuyolwethu's career before joining the Umzi Wethu Academy was focused on providing services in community projects and youth empowerment.
Close to her heart was the role of Lay Counsellor at Dora Nginza Hospital, where she dealt with Prevention from mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT) and Pre and post counselling and testing on HIV (VCT).
Vuyo is happy that she has had all these experiences, as she has been able to make a change in the community. "It brings me joy that I could do something to help those who are in need and ever since I had the opportunity to work with people, I have wanted to direct my career path in being more in contact with the youth because it feels like an achievement.
Since graduating from Umzi Wethu, Vuyo has been working as a head chef at Café Jacqueline.
How do you enjoy your job working at Jacqueline’s?
You get moments as a chef, where you feel the adrenaline rush and I love it. I also love being able to present the food beautifully.
What have you learnt from Umzi Wethu that has helped you in your new career?
The most important things I’ve learnt from Umzi Wethu were patience and teamwork. I have always been good at doing tasks on my own and at Umzi Wethu I had to learn to be a team player but living with a lot of peers made it easier. I carry Umzi Wethu everywhere with me. There are moments in life where I go back and look what I’ve learnt at Umzi. I especially loved taking on challenges at Umzi Wethu as I was an intern for hostessing. It grew me and I believe that every experience can lead you somewhere and help you grow.
What was your biggest challenge at Umzi Wethu and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me was the other students. In the beginning there was a lot of cultural diversity and we did not understand each other. There were a lot of misunderstandings. The facilitators helped us solve this problem through workshops on getting to know and understand each other. Today we are closer and many of us still keep in contact.
What are your dreams for the future?
If I had to list all my dreams you would be able to write a book haha. My main dream is that I would really like to further my studies and study PR or Project Management. I eventually would like to work for a company such as the Department of Health.
Getting to Know, Phumeza- 2015 Siyazenzela Graduate
Phumeza is a 2015 Graduate from the Siyazenzela programme. Before attending theh Siyazenzela course, she was waitressing and realised she had a passion for the hospitality industry which made her want to enhance her current skills as a waitress.
Why did you choose Siyazenzela?
I wanted to learn better skills and more knowledge as I heard it was about the hospitality industry.
What have you learnt from Siyazenzela that has helped you in your new career?
I have learnt how to work and interact with people and how to speak with them. I was a very shy girl and Siyazenzela allowed me to open up. I remember my favourite class was when we learnt about how to control different “masks” – we learnt that we need to wear a different, more professional “mask” at work than at home.
What was your biggest challenge at Siyazenzela and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me was learning to work with different people. Our peers were different ages and we had to learn to work together.
What are your dreams for the future?
I would really like to open my own coffee shop one day and work in the hospitality industry.