31 August 2023

UMP students seized the opportunity to engage with over 40 organisations and potential employers, and discussed potential employment prospects in their respective academic disciplines.

The expo was organised by the UMP Engagement Division. Ms. Patience Motha, stated, "At the career expo companies partake to ensure comprehensive representation of all university programmes. We are greatly satisfied with the turnout of students and companies that graced this expo. Given that classes are now predominantly conducted online, it is noteworthy that a majority of students, both from on and off campus, participated."

Mr Patrick Motsweni, a representative from the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition, which focuses on fostering innovation and technology, shared, "Our focus lies in supporting small businesses and innovators who are crafting novel product processes. We assist them in transitioning from the conceptual stage to the prototyping stage. Once they achieve a prototype, we enroll them in a program aimed at launching and sustaining the product in the market."

Mr Motsweni highlighted that the company also extends grants, "We offer grants that bolster small businesses, capping at a maximum of R700 000. This funding aids in commercialising products or introducing them to the market. Our programs encompass grassroots innovation facilitation schemes and smacks."


UMPUMP Students engaged with potential employers during the Career Expo.

He added, "We champion projects holding robust intellectual property rights in taking their products to market. We offer grants of up to R 10 million for two rounds of support. The initial round offers a ceiling of R7 million, followed by the second round with a ceiling of R3 million. Our department's responsibilities span agro-processing, clothing and textiles, and automotive industries. While we offer an array of services, our primary focus is on innovation."

The DTIC opportunities are slated for advertisement on the website towards the year's end, with intake commencing the subsequent year.

Based in Mataffin, the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) boasts 18 parks, including Makhonja Mountain. A representative from MTPA conveyed, "Our presence at the Career Expo is aimed at showcasing our expertise in conservation, environmental science, and tourism, presenting opportunities such as becoming a tour guide. Our focus is primarily on enlightening students, especially those pursuing conservation and tourism, about our offerings at MTPA."

"We strive to furnish students with information about the courses pertinent to their pursuit of tourism. For instance, if they intend to embark on a journey in tourism, we provide insights into the various tourism opportunities available at MTPA, as well as other avenues within the conservation realm."

UMPUMP Students engaging with future employers.

UMP Honours in Psychology student, Blue Mudzunga, attended the expo to broaden her horizons and gain awareness of unexplored opportunities. She shared, "I learned that the market brims with numerous opportunities, yet many individuals miss out due to lack of motivation and interest. The expo proved invaluable as I identified several organisations that could provide me with opportunities, so far the Correctional Services' programs tailored to my course particularly caught my attention," she added.

Lesego Mashego, a  Bachelor of Arts student planning to major in communication studies or archaeology, shared his insights on the career expo, "I attended in pursuit of bursary opportunities or potential leadership roles tailored to students in my field. I encountered a few offerings from ABSA, which were among the most compelling opportunities of the day.

The expo's atmosphere was enriching; I was unaware of the extent of organisations keen on recruiting students into the professional realm. Overall, the experience was enlightening, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time."

Ms. Motha further expressed, "I extend my appreciation to all the companies that honoured the invitation. Additionally, we actively encourage more companies to engage with the university, interact with students, provide insights into available opportunities, and offer career guidance."

@ Story and pictures by Cleopatra Makhaga.