Student Name: Desmond Mafokeng
Program: Bonani Work-Readiness Program
They never tell you how hard it is to find a job after you leave university. South Africa has a reported unemployment rate of 26,4% with about half that number unemployed youth. And so I faced the irony of trying to gain experience, yet numerous employment ads required people that already have experience.
To say that it was tough would be an understatement. Six months after graduating, and after tirelessly filling out job applications with no call backs, I found a small advertisement in the newspaper classifieds. It offered finance graduates an opportunity to be trained and prepared for the workplace. It wasn’t a job offer, but the prospect of gaining even a minuscule amount of experience in the accounting field was enough for me to call the number and make an appointment. Little did I know that this small ad from a company I had never heard of before would change my life. The name of the company is Guarantee Trust – a name that will forever signify a major turning point in my life and career as an accountant.
I was accepted onto the program and was grouped together with 60 other individuals who were at the same point in their careers as I was. This brought me a sense of comfort because I realized I was not alone on the strenuous journey to find employment. I found kindred spirits and the friendships and attachments I made with some of the people in this group are still strong to this day.
The teachings and the methods of training applied by Guarantee Trust were very unorthodox and definitely not what I expected as a trainee accountant. The soft skills courses were very much meant to challenge our way of thinking, and fundamentally changed some of the habits and doctrines we had learnt over the years at school and in university.
Some of us resisted the idea of making such big changes and thought the training was ridiculous. It was only in the latter stages of the program that I started noticing the benefits of soft skills learnt at Guarantee Trust. It was then that I realized the benefits to my career and even my life in general.
Guarantee Trust kept their promise and I was placed at a small accounting firm called GMFA Accountants. Everything I learnt at Guarantee Trust prepared me for my work. I aced the interview using the soft skills and I was able to apply the technical skills from the first day.
When I started at the company we only had two employees. This was a very small company and I was expected to do a lot in a very short time. I had to liaise with clients, take telephone calls, and answer public queries about the company in addition to my daily bookkeeping duties. I had to learn fast, but the training I got from Guarantee Trust helped me to cope with the pressure I faced in my first few months.
Now I can proudly say that, within a year of working here, the company has grown to six employees. I supervise three of them. I’ve been promoted to Office Manager and the owner has entrusted me with managing the daily operations of the company.
I credit Fasset and Guarantee Trust for helping me achieve all I have in the past year!