Noma-Afrika Maxwele, Vulamathuba Manager

Communicare doesn’t need just one month to celebrate its female employees – celebrate with us as we feature our formidable women all year round! Noma-Afrika Maxwele, Vulamathuba Manager gives us insight into her career journey.

Why it is so important to empower young people and prepare them as a future workforce. Practical resources for a Black Child from the township, who is ambitious & determined to succeed against all odds.

Q.   You’re passionate about youth empowerment and skills development. Take us through when you made this discovery, what were the circumstances in your life?

A.   After completing matric with limited opportunities to study further and a lack of career guidance I decided to join the post-matric “bridging year” programme that The South African Educational Projects run for a small group of township youth that recently matriculated to help prepare for further studies or training and careers. The opportunity opened my mind to Post School Education and Training, youth empowerment, and the gap in the system for every black child to access the opportunities. Since then I have made a conscious decision to live on the following values:

 

  • Purposeful  – I live every day with a determination to make a positive change in society. This includes the employment/project opportunity I embark on needs to be aligned to my values and resonate with the person that I am.
  • Empowerment –  I drive youth development and opening up spaces for every underprivileged youth and adult to access the available skills development opportunities, whether is it through engagement or sharing of available resources.
  • Fulfillment – At the end of the day I look each day with gratitude and the work I do gives me great joy, knowing I am making a difference.
  • Impactful – I want to see the work I do change lives and impacting communities, in the years to come.  I want the work I do today to speak for its self tomorrow.

Q.   In your opinion, how can young people, especially those who come from underserved communities be prepared for the future of work today?

A.   Stay in school, have a vision, discipline, ask questions, familiarise themselves with the National Critical and Scarce Skills List for career choices that guarantee job opportunities or driven entrepreneurship, grab opportunities when they arise.

Q.   What resources would you point young jobseekers to, to help them become economically mobile? Resources that helped you along your journey.

    • The South African Educational Projects, provide after-school support and a post-matric bridging year program which includes career guidance.
    • The Zanokhanyo Network under the Common Good, I’ve been working with them for the past three years and they’ve been a great partner to the Vulamathuba Job Seekers Programme and their focus is on Job Readiness and equip the participants with soft skills.
    • Organisations that offer learnerships, are listed on the Skills Portal website. TVET  colleges also offer learnerships, these include False Bay College and College of Cape Town.
    • TVET Colleges with the Nated qualifications, which can be done part-time.
    • Grab internship opportunities and take on volunteer work to gain skills.

Q.   You’re probably the youngest individual in senior management at Communicare, talk to us about what this means for you?

A.   In my early years, I met a great mentor Graham Phippen who took the time to teach me ethical values, standing for what I believe in even when it is not fashionable and commitment to the cause (perseverance). This is what got me to where I am today.It means every dream is valid.  It reaffirms that anything is possible in life with determination, hard work, and having a positive outlook. It also means greater reach and delivery of the Skills Development programmes within the Communicare tenant base and neighboring communities.

Q.   Through your work (past and present) you impact the lives of many individuals, why is this important to you personally?

A.   I have had amazing individuals in my work life that took the time to invest in my development, they saw the potential in me and I am forever grateful. Their teachings have resonated with me and made me align my values to the Circle of Courage, I regard myself as a subject matter expert in Skills Development (mastery) and I believe in empowering others with the skills and knowledge so they can reach their full potential (generosity).

I believe that we can break the cycle of poverty through Skills Development and Training, which will eliminate the dependence on the government and the need for handouts. Empowering one another means we could all flourish together with a positive socio-economic status.  Our past should not be the deciding factor of the person we become tomorrow. Opportunities exist for people to access them, we need to be a nation that shares knowledge, occupies impactful spaces, and make a meaningful contribution to society.