ANC in Dr RSM hails Taung career expo  

The African National Congress (ANC) in Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati region said it would support any programmes that carry an objective to increase jobs and economic activity in the area.
The ANC was reacting to a career expo that was held last weekend in Taung. 
ANC Regional Secretary, Gaolatlhwe Kgabo, said young people do need to be empowered.
Grade 12 learners from various schools attended this career expo that was held at Taung Depot Hall on Saturday. The expo was organised by Dr Boitumelo Phakathi who was the youngest South African black female surgeon in 2014. Phakathi originates from Taung, but now plies her trade in Gauteng province. 
Kgabo said the ANC is happy at the efforts to assist young people with information that will help them build their careers.  
“We support all agents that provide institutional support to our young people. This will ensure there are sustainable job opportunities for the youth in future and curb the broader unemployed adult populace,” he said.  
ANC Youth League (ANCYL) member and former North West University Student Representative Council president, Orapeleng Matshidiso, said career expos benefit mostly learners from rural areas. 
“It assists the learners to get exposed to opportunities presented by universities and other spheres of government in partnership with the private sector. 
“Many of our learners in rural areas do not have access to internet facilities to be able to search for those career paths they would like to embark on,” Matshidiso said. 
Phakathi said it was important to organise career expos because young people sometimes underestimate their potential, especially when they come from rural areas like Taung. 
For the career expo, she had organized different professionals including doctors, lawyers, accountants, university professors and pilots who were also born in Taung, as a living testimony to encourage the young ones.
“Remember, your place of birth does not determine how far you can go in life. So we have put our focus on education because the former Republic of South Africa president, Dr Nelson Mandela, once said education is one of the most powerful weapons that we can use to overcome unemployment, inequality and poverty,” she said.
The 33-year-old doctor said some might say conducting a career expo when there is lack of job opportunities is a waste of time, but Phakathi believes someone’s situation might change in future.
“Opportunities must find you ready. We also encourage young people to create job opportunities for themselves and be employers instead of employees. I had a love for being a doctor while I was doing Standard Five (now Grade 7). I was inspired by Dr Tshesane who owned a surgery in Taung.
“I realised the poor standard at our local clinics and hospitals and I wanted to be one of the people who would improve the quality of health service delivery in our country. I worked hard after I went to a medical school and I am now a specialist in general surgery,” said Phakathi.
She added that most people come from almost hopeless backgrounds and need to market themselves well by achieving good academic results. Phakathi said that could be achieved through discipline, dedication and determination.
“I received a bursary to pursue my dream and continued to work hard even at university. More doors kept on opening for me and I am in the process of completing my PhD,” she said. 
The young doctor said she wishes to inspire more young people from Taung. 
“The career expo will be an annual event and we will also come up with a mentorship programme for these learners. The aim is to ensure that we mentor these young ones for them to also plough back in future. We rise by lifting others up because they are our future leaders,” Phakathi said.
She said together with her team of mentors, they would also embark on a take a ‘boy and girl’ child to work initiative, just to give learners a taste of a real work environment and probably first-hand experience at a job they want to study towards.
Joint Aviation Awareness Programme (JAAP) Chairperson, Tebogo Mokgejane, said there are vast opportunities in the aviation industry. 
“It will depend on what field of interest you want to embark on. We have a pilot, which is a popular career, and it requires pure Mathematics and Physical Sciences.
“We also have avionics engineers who are working in the aerospace engineering which is subspecialty of a field of avionics. The avionics engineers design and develop aircraft and spacecraft avionic instrumentation. They also conduct research to address problems associated with flight safety systems, landing gear and electronic navigation systems,” said Mokgejane. 
Well-known Dj, Orapeleng “Dj Nation” Mokgwabone, who works as an Air Traffic Controller for South African Air Force (SAAF) was also there to share tips. 
“We have four arms of service at the South African National Defence Force (SANDF): the Navy, Army, Military Health Services and SAAF. So, those who want to join must ensure that they follow relevant channels and have required qualifications according to the specified fields they want to embark on,” said Mokgwabone.