I am 23-years-old and am originally from Mossel Bay. I have been living with my paternal grandparents in De Aar for the last 15 years.
When I finished school there was no funding for me to continue with tertiary studies, but I took up a civil learnership in aerobics through Raubex Training Centre in Bloemfontein for 10 months. The same organisation then sent me for IT training at CTU Training Solutions while I worked for them in order to obtain practical experience. After finishing this internship I had no plans and hadn’t found a job, so I took the opportunity when approached to join the Solar Capital Community Development Workers(CDW) programme at the beginning of 2015.
I am still part of the CDW programme. We have workshops and classes once a month and further assignments to do this year. This course has totally changed the way I see the world, and so has changed me as a person, but it has also opened up the amazing opportunity for me of becoming an IT Facilitator at the Solar Capital Community Centre.
Solar Capital was looking for two IT Facilitators at their centre to assist any members of the public who use the IT resources. They chose me as they knew me from the CDW course to attend further eSkills training through the Vaal University of Technology. The other IT Facilitator and I graduated from this course in May 2016.
There is a top notch computer lab with free Wi-Fi at the centre that is open to anyone to use. Some of the public don’t know how to use a computer at all, others need help with how to do searches etc. I don’t know everything, but I will try my best to assist them and learn together with them.
I am now not only employed, but the CDW course has assisted me on a much deeper level. It has restructured me personally and so I am able to start in assisting with the restructuring of our community.
When starting the course I found it difficult to talk about my life experiences. I am not a talker and I used to mask my feelings. We spoke about some negative things over and over again. It was difficult to relive a memory I didn’t want to relive at all. But, in the end it really helped me so much that I am more of an open person than before. I can now easily talk about what happened and talk to other people and give them advice. I now understand that I have to let go; I have to accept things and move forward. It is the only way I am going to be happy.
This CDW course was a great opportunity and allowed me to learn something new. I am now able to better relate to people and offer assistance emotionally and practically. This will definitely help me in my IT Facilitator position and in any other position I hold in the future.
There are opportunities out there if you grab them with both hands. It doesn’t matter where you start, from the bottom or not. Don’t let any opportunity pass you by.
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Janet Matthee at her Vaal University of Technology graduation in 2016