Amanda Mnguni is addressing the 400 learners at EduPower Skills Academy and she commands the room as she is a respected role model. Just 12 months ago, Amanda was one of the learner’s, but she grasped every opportunity the learnership offered and has rightfully earned her place as a full-time employee on the EduPower team.
Amanda’s learnership journey began when she was retrenched. With five years working experience, some of which was in a managerial position, the 27-year old began looking for another job but her options were limited by her disability.
“I have limited hearing so I cannot work in a noisy environment. I applied for various positions but with no response and I became very concerned about how would support my baby. That’s when a friend suggested I should apply for a learnership at EduPower,” Amanda explains.
Doing a learnership appealed to Amanda as she had a matric but no other qualification. She researched learnerships and the Academy and liked what she saw. Learnerships are 12-month skills development programmes that consist of 30% theoretical training and 70% work-based experience. They increase employability as the deliberate focus on practical experience prepares learners for the working world.
“The learnership offered me the opportunity to get a recognised qualification and gain practical work experience at the same time. And the fact that I could earn while I learned sealed the deal,” she says.
Amanda was enrolled for a National Certificate in Information Technology: End User Computing. The NQF Level 3 qualification was combined with practical work experience which takes place in EduPower’s unique, custom-fitted contact centre. The Academy sources live campaigns for the learners so that they gain relevant, market-related experience and as both the training and work experience take place under one roof, its learners are introduced to working a regular five-day week, eight hours a day.
“Due to my hearing impairment, I was very concerned about calling people on the phone but from day one, EduPower accommodated my disability and made me feel part of the family,” Amanda explains.
While she was doing very well, a couple of months into her learnership Amanda had a new opportunity. EduPower needed additional hands to help with basic office work and true to the Academy’s ethos of developing workplace skills, they looked to their learners first.
“I applied for the role and I was among the five learners selected. It was a steep learning curve but working with the team helped me to understand the administration required for learnerships and provided an introduction Skills Development and B-BBEE too,” Amanda explains.
As she was a willing and fast learner, Amanda excelled in the position. She proved to be a valuable addition to the team and when EduPower decided to create a full-time position, Amanda was invited to apply. This time however, she was up against experienced candidates.
“The Client Liaison Assistant role was advertised extensively. Fortunately, I had the skills and experience required but it was still such a sense of achievement when I learned I was successful. I started as a full-time employee at EduPower in November 2019 when my learnership ended,” she adds.
Amanda’s appointment not only confirmed her new skills and improved employability, it also unlocked five bonus points for absorption for her learnership sponsor. This win-win for both the sponsor as well as the learner delivers on the true intention of B-BBEE Skills Development.
“The learnership at EduPower prepared me for the position I’m in today but I realise there is so much more I need to learn. I am currently doing an NQF Level 5 in Generic Management as well as a facilitation course,” says Amanda.
“My goal is to train new learners when they join EduPower. I have been given such an incredible opportunity here and I want to share this with our recruits by playing a role in developing their skills so that when they finish, they have everything they need to start building their careers.”