Start main page content

Small steps on the road to true empowerment

- Wits University

Big smiles as staff celebrate passing the first level of many, on the road to upskilling themselves.

Staff from the Services Department elated at completing course

Joyce Khumalo is elated and walks with confidence these days when she visits the bank. Nowadays, she no longer needs assistance to complete paper work or help to understand the letters that she receives from her children’s school.

Khumalo is one of 47 staff members under the Services Department that recently completed courses on basic literacy and numeracy skills. The group embarked on the road of learning in 2019 but were dealt with setback when the pandemic struck, leading to the suspension of classes. As a result, what should have been a one year course ended up stretching over three years. The stop and start, amongst other factors, proved to be too much for the adult learners who started as a group of 70 people.

Passing this level “feels like a giant leap”, says Khumalo who works at the Highfields Dining Hall, Parktown Education campus.

To mark this milestone, the Services Department and the Human Resources Development Unit (HRDU) held a celebratory event to recognise the staff.

Services’ Director Israel Mogomotsi, praised his team for persevering adding that the Department recognises this achievement and understands the difficulty that comes with studying while working.  

Many of the Services staff also spend many hours on the road commuting to work by public transport and still have to tend to their families.

Mogomotsi emphasised that education brings true freedom and hopes that the group will continue to the next level once funds have been secured.

The HRDU, a key partner in developing the appropriate skills for the University played a critical role in this success. Working in partnership with Services and Media Works, the Unit conducted a pre-assessment of approximately 600 staff members in Mogomotsi’s department to gage the literacy levels of staff who had been insourced. This move enabled the partners to introduce appropriate educational programmes. This transformation project has also contributed to the self-image of members.

For Mbavhelelo Mashapa, he says he longer uses What’s App language to mask spelling challenges. The opportunity to study has inspired him to take himself seriously and has introduced him to many resources that aid professionalism.

HRDU has been instrumental in providing development opportunities to various levels of staff.  In addition to the above training, the HRDU also provided staff with opportunities to pursue the Learnership in Business Administration and language training in English, IsiZulu and South African Sign Language, to name a few.