30 August 2022

Due to the constrictions and restrictions of the pandemic, the expo had to be held virtually for the last two years, which inevitably meant that attendance from students and graduates, and participation from companies was lower than had been hoped for. Being able to hold a physical event this year, the number of students increased significantly, as did the number of companies and organisations that participated – making the event bigger and better than ever before, says Student Graduate Manager, Mr Raymond Mkhwanazi.

“Students came in numbers and engaged with all the companies, seeking information and advice on their careers, and trying to understand the job market landscape. The companies that exhibited were relevant according to their programmes of study,” he said.

Second-year Hospitality Management and Tourism student, Owami Mpanza, aspires to work abroad and is grateful for the guidance and information she received at the career expo, all of which will aid her in turning her dreams into reality.

“During the expo I got to learn more about the different training and internship opportunities and programmes that exist at certain lodges and hotels within the hospitality industry. It has been inspiring and has broadened my perspective of the industry. Having ambitions to one day own a lodge, I know what it takes to get there,” she said.

UMPThe 2022 Career Expo attracted some 25 exhibitors. 

Final year student in Development Studies, Nomcebo Shongwe, says he received invaluable information with regards to his career and the way forward.

“My hope is to become a Development Consultant at a local municipality where I would like to focus on the environment. I’m still planning to do my honours. I will start looking for a job. I volunteer in the local municipalities so that I can get experience.

The presence of National Youth Development Agency has assisted me to understand the checklist of what is needed to secure funding when one day I need to start my business.”

Siyabonga Ngomane, who is a third-year Bachelor of Administration student, says the career expo has motivated him to have a multi-focused directional approach when looking for career opportunities.

“I love working in the farming industry, especially poultry, but had never thought of starting my own business,” he says, noting that he had also learnt investing tips.

“My highlight was meeting Mega which deals with businesses so that I have more options. Since the school is trying to bring all those companies to open up some opportunities for students.”

UMPStudents attended the event in large numbers. 

The 2022 UMP Career Expo attracted some 25 companies, one of which included RCL Foods, which currently offers internship to agricultural students. Ms Christabel Hlatshwayo says every year RCL takes 30 students to do their internship for 12 months.

“We also offer them a stipend. We have graduate placement programmes for 12 months exposure to understand the different careers within the company,” she says.

Ms Hlatshwayo added that a lot of career opportunities at RCL are in agronomy, which is scarce in the province. “We also offer internships in the accounting field but mainly our focus is on agriculture.”

The event has several benefits for students. Advanced Diploma in Post-Harvest student, Mbali Mndebele, can attest to that. She is currently doing experiential training at Halls, an opportunity she secured at a career expo which was hosted by UMP a few years back.

“The career expo has been very beneficial and influential in my life. I have met some people in business who are assisting us to start businesses using agricultural knowledge. I’m currently doing experiential learning and I’m learning and gaining experience that will be useful in years to come,” she says.

Mndebele encourages students to stay focused and work hard to achieve their dreams. “Search for information and have people that can mentor you.”

@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures @ChristplPhoto