The University of Cape Town (UCT) Careers Service recently welcomed its 2020 cohort of Peer Career Support (PCS) staff members. Five PCS appointments are made each year as part of the service’s goal to contribute to the personal and professional development of graduates. Their stint at the Careers Service helps them gain experience and successfully transition to the world of work.
Two PCS staff members usually welcome all visitors on arrival at the Hoerikwaggo ground-floor offices. Besides developing strong customer-oriented service skills, the team are required to work under pressure and grow their project-management skills.
The Careers Service hosts many events throughout the year and the PCS team is actively involved, contributing to programme development and forming part of the staff support team, which ensures that each event is executed to excellent standards. As UCT graduates, they are well-placed to understand the needs and challenges encountered along the UCT student learning journey.
The PCS team undergo a comprehensive induction period, and their early career journey is supported by a senior staff member and a coach throughout the course of the year.
While acknowledging the steep learning curve, Jolie Mauridi, Aleya Banwari, Nisha Sibeko, Kaluba Chikonde and Chandra Mophethe are taking the challenge in their stride.
Mophethe started as a PCS this year and said she applied for the job because of the help she received from the Careers Service while studying.
“I want to help increase awareness … and ensure that students … get the help they need.”
“I want to help increase awareness about what the Careers Service offers and ensure that students who feel lost or confused about their academic journey or career path get the help they need,” she said. She hopes that more students, especially those at satellite offices, get to know about and use the service.
Mauridi first became a PCS in 2019, so she is familiar with the role.
“A typical weekday could include various tasks, such as, but not limited to, assisting students with navigating the Careers Service website to book appointments with advisors, accessing careers-related resources that are available, like CV guidelines and interview resources, as well as administrative duties, such as answering phones, maintaining files and assisting on the department’s projects,” she said.
Mauridi said she applied for the job, in part, because she enjoys engaging with students and networking with employers who partner with the Careers Service.
“I applied for the position because I was looking for an opportunity to learn/strengthen various transferable skills, such as organisational and planning skills, communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills, while completing my degree,” she reflected.
What career-related advice would Mophethe and Mauridi give to current students?
“Always check the website for any new announcements on events such as expos, talks, jobs or career resources. They are so valuable,” said Mophethe.
“I would tell all UCT students to utilise the department’s resources as much as they need to while they are at UCT,” Mauridi said, pointing out that the Careers Service offers a free, invaluable service.
“We always look forward to welcoming our new PCS cohorts as each group contributes new perspectives and strengths to the Careers Service team,” said Brenda Martin, the service’s director. “By making five appointments each year, we directly contribute to youth employment and improved employability.
“We urge all departments at UCT that are interested in contributing to the national youth employment growth agenda to consider introducing a one-year internship model into their staffing plans.”
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