#YouthMonth: From Limpopo to Investec, Pathu Ngwana’s inspiring story of resilience and success

#YouthMonth: From Limpopo to Investec, Pathu Ngwana’s inspiring story of resilience and success

#YouthMonth: From Limpopo to Investec, Pathu Ngwana’s inspiring story of resilience and success

Phathutshedzo "Pathu" Ngwana, hailing from Madombidzha in Limpopo, holds a BSc in Life Sciences. At Investec, Ngwana works as an IT Systems Operator, ensuring seamless end-of-day processes and 24/7 system monitoring.

Her journey from unemployment to securing a role at Investec highlights her resilience, determination, and commitment to personal and professional growth.

Can you please introduce yourself and describe your current role at Investec?

My name is Phathutshedzo Ngwana, I am from a village called Madombidzha in Louis Trichardt in Limpopo Province. My current role at Investec is an IT Systems Operator - part of a team that provides overnight support where we facilitate end-of-day processes, and monitor systems 24/7.

Could you share your journey from your hometown in Limpopo to joining Investec? What were some of the challenges you faced along the way?

In 2019, I made the big move from Limpopo to Gauteng after I completed my studies and this was always part of my plan for as long as I can remember. However, I didn’t know where I would end up staying but that did not deter me. Luckily, my partner offered me a place to stay which was a huge relief, but I was also faced with yet another difficult challenge – I was unemployed and needed to find a way to survive as my partner was still a student.

How did you come across the opportunity at Investec, and what was your experience like during the End User Services IT Learnership?

When 2022 rolled up, I was frustrated with being unemployed and when online job applications in my field continued to prove fruitless - along with dropping my CV door-to-door - and internship opportunities dried up with none resulting in permanent employment, I then decided to take to the streets to market myself.

I was unemployed and needed to find a way to survive.

Standing in a busy intersection in the middle of winter with nothing but a board of my qualifications and a smile, my life took a turn when I encountered Mduduzi Mthanti, IT operations manager at Investec.

He recogised my potential and invited me to apply for the Investec End User Services IT Learnership – a practical training and internship opportunity that bridges the gap between education and employment. The learnership not only creates a pipeline for females in technology but retains 90% of the candidates that come through the programme.

This was the opportunity and support I needed and became a pivotal point in transforming my prospects. I embraced every opportunity, learning new skills and proving my worth, all of which culminated in being offered a full-time position within Investec.

What were some of the key skills or lessons you learned during your time in the learnership, and how did it prepare you for your current role?

The learnership taught me how to work under pressure and adapt to the fast-paced environment. I also learnt how to communicate effectively and to network and to not be afraid to ask questions or for assistance when I needed it.

Leading up to my role, the learnership helped me navigate expectations with more ease because I am able to communicate instructions clearly and prioritise my duties without feeling overwhelmed.

As a young professional, what unique perspectives or contributions do you bring to your role in the IT industry?

I bring optimism, adaptability, positive attitude, diligence and friendliness. I am also always open-minded and determined to learn new information and skills.

Do not look down on opportunities that might not be ideal for you at the moment – take a longer view.

What advice would you give to other young people facing similar challenges in finding employment in South Africa?

My advice to the youth is not to give up and not to lose hope. Do not let fear or doubt hold you back, go ahead and start that small business, go ahead and approach that person/organisation that you feel might assist you.

Upskill yourself and do not underestimate the power of short courses – they can give the skills you need for future opportunities. Do not look down on opportunities that might not be ideal for you at the moment – take a longer view. And lastly, take that risk and get out of your comfort zone.

How has your journey at Investec impacted your personal growth and aspirations for the future?

Working at Investec has impacted my personal growth in such a major way. It has helped me gain a sense of pride, identity and personal achievement. It has enabled me to socialise, be independent and have financial security. More than anything it has helped improve my mental health.

In your opinion, what role do companies like Investec play in addressing youth unemployment and empowering young professionals?

Companies like Investec play a huge role in reducing the unemployment rate by offering opportunities such as graduate programmes, internships and learnerships – all of which empower the youth with skills, training and prepare them for the working world. Shout out to companies like Investec that also retains some of its interns after the internships come to an end.

Looking ahead, where do you see yourself in the next five years, and what goals do you hope to achieve?

I see myself having a career in the Cloud computing space as I have also obtained a qualification in the IT field. I also see myself giving back to the community by joining an NGO that helps combats unemployment and offers opportunities to the youth either by helping them secure internships or through bursaries.

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