Vulamathuba Empumelelo enrolled six learners in their 12 month-long Social Auxiliary work learnership. The highly motivated learners, completed their qualifications earlier this month, and are now ready to make their mark and affect social development change in communities.

Social Auxiliary Work learners are (from left) Kenalemang Mamello Tlholagae, Noluvo Mbiko, Nonzaliseko Beko, Ncumisa Phika and Vatiswa Mooi

The learners shared a glimpse of their experiences with us.

For Nonzaliseko the opportunity could not have come at a better time. “I was unemployed and planning to study a Social Auxiliary Work short course through the University of South Africa (Unisa) when I saw the advert for the learnership.” Throughout the learnership Nonzaliseko felt empowered to take responsibility and improve her time management.

“I learned that a good attitude and a willingness to help is key to helping the community. The team is predominantly female, and to see women lead such a successful team is empowering. I saw the potential in me to shine.”

Mamello added that, while she had dreams to further her studies in Social Work, she had to park that dream due to financial difficulties and instead register with a local TVET College. She said that, when the opportunity came, she knew it would be a “big one” for her.

Noluvo, also shared similar sentiments saying, “I saw an opportunity to develop my career. The only thing I was required to do was to avail myself. The coursework fees were already paid for and all learning materials were also available at no cost. On top of that, there was a promise to earn a monthly stipend!”

Some of the learners cited various benefits of completing their practical work with Vulamathuba Empumelelo, including exposure to skills development opportunities. Vatiswa highlighted an improvement in her interpersonal skills.

“I’m now more confident when speaking in public because I had to present to children, which I’ve never done before. I have also learned how to conduct research and design life skills sessions, craft good presentations, and plan for projects.”

Mamello learned to be respectful and empathetic towards others, and she also developed an understanding of diverse cultural views. She also honed her knowledge of gardening skills, “Since I’ve been assisting with the gardening project, I have started my own small garden, and I’m growing cucumbers.”

The biggest challenge the learners had to overcome was balancing the practical work experience and the coursework component of the learnership, which was delivered online – a first for almost the entire cohort.

When asked what they intend to do after the learnership, Mamello said she hoped to get a full time role as a Social Auxiliary worker at Vulamathuba.

Noluvo plans to get a permanent job as a Social Auxiliary worker so that she can afford to further her studies. “My goal is to complete an Honours Degree in Psychology.”

Nonzaliseko and Ncumisa respectively want to pursue further studies in Social Work and Nursing.

Encouraging other young people, who intend to complete the Social Auxiliary work learnership with Vulamathuba Empumelelo, the learners advised:

  • “Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and not be a by-stander. Our job is not based in the office – it’s in the community. So, you must be passionate about giving back to the community.”

  • “Don’t do it for just the stipend but most importantly love and be passionate about the work.”

  • “Be physically and mentally prepared because the job is demanding.”

The Social Auxiliary work team thanked the Vulamathuba mentors for investing their time and energy to support their journey.

Overall, the learnership afforded the learners an enriching professional growth experience.