North-West University’s Mafikeng Campus alumna, Sphiwe Kabini, found that high school students had no way to learn about the opportunities that fit their personality, so she decided to start a mentorship initiative.
The 31-year-old, who holds a Bcom in Information Systems, started this initiative early this year after she was called by her mentor to come to her house to help a daughter who is in matric to register for an engineering course for next year.
“ Before we resumed the process, I just started a conversation with her to gather her thoughts around her future aspirations. To my findings, I discovered that her interests were nowhere close to engineering, she was doing this to please her parents and for money,” shares Kabini.
She says she and her friends resumed with some aptitude tests online. From the results thereof, they then researched the careers that matched with the mentee’s personality, abilities and skills, logic, and interests.
“Nothing pertaining to engineering appeared from her results. We presented our findings to her parents. This helped build a case to convince her parents to sign a letter from her school to change her subjects. Then and there it dawned to me that this is not a unique case. More learners struggle with this.
Her parents informed other parents about our journey, and how their daughter was happier now and doing better at school. These parents reached out, and that was the birth of this initiative,” she explains.
Though the initial idea was to do face to face consultations, she and her team had to change the strategy due to the Covid-19 pandemic and conduct sessions online.
“I believe we can still help someone make an informed and relevant career choice.
One of the most rewarding and noteworthy outcomes from this is how, when all parties are engaged, this can be rewarding for both the parents and the learner,” says Kabini who hails from Katlehong, Johannesburg.
With a glittering career full of achievements Kabini is currently working as a Strategy BI Analyst at Nedbank. She reveals that in her own career path, she defaulted into Information Systems, which she didn’t know about and did not intentionally choose.
“I didn’t have this opportunity where one would truly advise me with my best interest at heart; assessing my skills, personality, interests, capabilities, etc. I still believe that I would have thrived better should I have had someone or gone through a similar process to help me chose my career path, obtaining my parent’s trust and confidence too,” she points out.
Kabini, who is also a strong believer in the empowerment of women, says the one way she believes gender inequality can be reduced is by being intentional about it. She however says that there’s a whole paradigm shift that must take place.
“The one way I believe we can reduce gender inequality is being intentional about it. However, there’s a whole paradigm shift that must take place. Our men need to be the drivers of this. They are the ones sitting on the seats of privilege. If they are not ready, we’d then have to engage in policy writing that enforces this, and mechanisms to be put in place monitor this enforcement. Being rigour and intentional is one start,” she shares.
She advises women to be each other’s support system.
“Our young girls need mentors and coaches who would nurture and support them in both their career and personal development. It’s one thing to thrive in your career, but it’s another to thrive both in your career and personal being. This breeds a well-rounded individual. This is what we need in the new generation of female leaders, especially with all the social pressures and expectations that surround us.”