Student Name: Nhlanhla Mahlangu
Program: Virtual Bank Work-Readiness Program
My name is Nhlanhla Mahlangu and I studied BCom Accounting at the University of Johannesburg. In order for me do my specific subjects, I needed to relocate from KZN to Johannesburg.
Obtaining my degree required a lot of hard work, and sacrifices, and it took me four years. It was also difficult financially and I needed to become independent, as my family was based in Durban.
I was very excited after getting my degree, so I came back home and started looking for employment. My excitement soon changed to frustration as I tried all avenues to find employment. I applied directly onto companies’ websites, I also went to recruitment agencies, however the response was always negative. One day while searching for jobs in the Banking Sector on Gumtree, I saw an advertisement from Guarantee Trust for their Banking Programme. I realised I had nothing to lose, so I applied and went through the whole recruitment and interview process. I was impressed with what the programme had to offer in that they train you first and prepare you for the workplace, and then they help place you in a job where you can begin your career. Best of all, this entire programme would be sponsored by Bankseta.
During the six month’s training programme there were plenty of good times and we were taught many things which are all relevant to the Banking Industry. One of the exercises that really stands out for me are the “Communication Drills”, which teach you to maintain your composure at all times, no matter how stressful the situation. Some of the drills even included prospective customers shouting and insulting you. We learned how to manage such communication interactions. The programme also taught me how to dress professionally. This section was a revelation for me because I assumed that I always dressed correctly, only to find out the errors of my ways.
A crucial part of the programme was the Interview Skills, which teaches you how to conduct yourself appropriately in an interview. When comparing my first interview at Guarantee Trust, to my final interview at one of South Africa’s leading banks, six months later, there was a major improvement. I believe this is one of the biggest problems students have after attaining their degrees, in that they are not trained how to interact in interviews. After being unsuccessful in an interview, the prospective employers never give you feedback on the reasons for being unsuccessful. I’m sure many students keep on making the same mistakes over and over.
After completing the Guarantee Trust Programme, my first appointment at was as a Field Controller. My main job description included being responsible for all the (Automatic Teller Machines) ATM’s in the Durban South Region. Eight staff would report to me and our functions would include the ordering and control of cash for these ATM’s. We would also need to ensure that the ATM’s are up and running at all times.
After three months in this position, the bank decided to re-structure our division, and now I am currently a Risk Controller within the same division. Now my job description entails ensuring that all staff comply with the banks’s laid down processes for the Self Service Banking Division. I am very proud of my achievements done in this very short period of time.
Based on my training at GT, my future goal is to work in the Corporate Banking Division. I also plan to continue my studies through CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and become a Management Accountant.
I am greatly indebted to Bankseta for the opportunity that they have given me and I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for your Banking Programme. I would also like to take this opportunity in thanking Guarantee Trust for their input. This would include my mentors and facilitators Sma and Jabu, also the manager of the Bankseta Programme Mark Arbuckle, and Miles the Placement Officer.
I sincerely hope that the programme continues so that it can provide more people like me, with an opportunity to better prepare themselves for the workplace, and ultimately a better chance to gain meaningful employment and a career.