When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and campuses and residences were forced to comply with lockdown regulations, then-student Sisipho Mbukuqwa had two choices; either sit around and dwell on not being able to enjoy life outside or do something productive with her time. 

Raised between Umtata and Rustenburg, Sisipho’s upbringing played a key role in the person she is today. Curious and forward-thinking, it’s Sisipho’s curiosity that leads her to discover FutureMe’s Go-Getter Programme. With strict Covid lockdowns already in place at the time, she decided to take charge of her future and join SPAR & FutureMe’s Go-Getter Programme. Using her time in lockdown proactively, Sisipho gained some insight and experience into what she could expect once entering the world of work.

Go-Getter Programme Experience

Curious and eager to learn, Sisipho describes her experience as amazing. –And despite joining the programme in the middle of a pandemic, she wishes every young person could have the opportunity she had. Providing her and other participants with the resources and platform to engage with career professionals, she went from learning behind a screen to landing an internship, to eventually working as a copywriter for SPAR.

When asked why more young South Africans should sign up for a programme like Go-Getter, she said “It’s important to be forward-thinking when it comes to things that can improve your life and that are beneficial to your growth. It’s important to be forward-thinking if there’s nothing for you to lose and everything for you to gain, I would say “Go for it.”

Breaking The Stigma Around The Retail Industry

When it comes to the retail industry as a young South African, it’s important to break the already existing stigma around what a career within the retail industry entails. Joining the programme, Sisipho’s entire view on what she thought she knew about the South African retail industry was completely flipped upside down. “If I’m being honest, for me, retail always had a cashier and then a person who would be packing the shelves. I didn’t know that there were people behind the scenes that plan and are responsible for the execution” says Sisipho.

Opportunities for growth

Learning about herself and her career growth during the process, Sisipho highlights the key to success no matter your career journey, is that you never stop learning. Instead of getting comfortable in her daily work routine, Sisipho is constantly looking for new ways to engage herself and learn new skills. “I’m always that person that wants to be a better version of themselves and if I feel like I didn’t learn anything new It frustrates me,” says Sisipho.

Word Of Advice To Young South Africans

“If there’s an opportunity out there, go for it. It doesn’t matter if they are not paying you or if they pay you a little, just learn as much as possible. –And if the opportunity is presented to you, in fact, sometimes the opportunity is not going to be presented to you, you need to go out there and look for it. Don’t be afraid to go knocking,” says Sisipho.