What I want to be when I grow up

Claire Tedder is a tutor at Master Maths Empangani.

Describe your business/profession.

Master Maths Empangeni provides individualised tuition in both mathematics and maths literacy.

 What does it take to be successful in this career?

A person needs to be academically strong in mathematics (+ 80 %) to be able to tutor at Master Maths. Many of our senior tutors have tertiary qualifications that require a strong ability in mathematics.  The most important requirement to be successful in this career is that you need to have high energy levels and have a passion for working and helping with young people to succeed. Some senior tutors can progress to become business managers and owners of a Master Maths franchise.

What do you have to study to qualify for this career?

A person must achieve a good mathematics result (+ 80 %) at Grade 12 level to qualify for this career. It is also preferable that tutors either have a tertiary qualification, or are working towards a tertiary qualification, while they work at Master Maths.

What are the benefits of running a business in a growing economy such as Zululand?

The benefit of running an educational business in Zululand is that we can live our mission. We can help learners to enjoy and to reach their full potential in mathematics. We achieve this by developing self-awareness, self-confidence and self-discipline as well as the necessary problem solving and reasoning skills that are required in mathematics and in life.

Any advice for aspirant mathematics tutors?

The best advice to school learners is: Have a good attitude towards your school work, particularly mathematics and physical science. These are the ‘gateway’ subjects that you need to achieve goods result in to be able to work at Master Math. These are also the key subjects that set you on the path for success in the majority of high end careers. Many young people work at Master Maths to earn an income while they complete their tertiary studies. Master Maths is a fantastic academic work environment, which gives young people a taste of the professional work environment, and also prepares them for success in future high end careers.

You are not your circumstances. You are your possibilities.

If you know that, you could do anything.

        (Oprah Winfrey)

Isn’t it exciting to think about all the possible career paths you can follow?

The decision of what you will do upon finishing school can be very daunting. Talking to people in the various fields helps a lot – to find out what exactly they do for a living, how they got into their specific profession, and what their average day looks like.

Talking to people in the various fields helps a lot – to find out what exactly they do for a living, how they got into their specific profession, and what their average day looks like.

We‘ve made it a little bit easier for you! Check out ‘When I Grow Up’, featuring a number of local professionals who share their career advice.

Check out all the different professions by selecting from the tabs above, featuring a number of local professionals who share their career advice.

Liezel de Koker is a Chartered Accountant at Hills & Associates Inc

Describe your profession.

I am a Chartered Accountant and Registered Auditor working in private practice. We focus on financial needs and requirements of small and medium-sized businesses. I am involved in the audit and preparation of financial statements, taxation compliance and planning and business consulting in various ways.

Auditing entails the independent inspection of an organisation’s accounting records in order to determine whether the records and financial statements are free of material misstatement and can be trusted or not.

Chartered Accountants also work in businesses as financial managers and directors, being responsible for the overall financial role and well-being of the company.

What does it take to be successful in this career?

Perseverance, dedication and hard work. You need to be able to build a trusting relationship with your clients and never allow that your integrity and reputation be jeopardised.

What do you have to study to qualify for this career?

The only official requirement of the universities to be admitted for accounting studies is Mathematics, but it is strongly recommended that you take Accounting at school level since this will lay a solid foundation of the basic, but very important, principles of accounting.

At university, you will have to complete an accredited degree and Honours degree in Accounting, with Accounting, Taxation, Audit and Management Accounting as your main subjects. After the successful completion thereof, you will have to write the two qualifying board exams. You are also required to engage in a training contract with a registered firm for at least three years.

How many years of study does it take to qualify?

The route to becoming a Chartered Accountant takes at least seven years – four years of full-time studies and three years of contract training, during which period you also attempt the board exams. To qualify as a Registered Auditor, two more years of training at an audit firm is required.

What advice can you give to students who are interested in the field?

My advice would be that, if it is at all possible, to complete your studies on a full-time basis as studying part-time while doing your training contract is very hard. And then, of course, never lose focus!

What are the benefits of running a business in a growing economy such as Zululand?

As the economy grows, opportunities arise for us to become involved in new and upcoming businesses, not necessarily in capacity as auditors, but fulfilling the role of the accountant, financial manager or advisor to these businesses, allowing us to grow with them.

Benice Gertzen is a graphic designer at the Zululand Observer.

Describe your business/profession.

A graphic designer is a professional within the graphic design and graphic arts industry who assembles together images, to create a piece of design.

What does it take to be successful in this career?

Accept learning as your best skill. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn something new. Always aim high and work hard.

What do you have to study, both at secondary and tertiary level, to qualify for this career?

Having Art as a subject in High school is a big benefit. To qualify for this career you should study towards BA in Graphic Design or obtain a Diploma in Media and Graphic Design.

How many years of study does it take to qualify?

3 – 4 years. Depending on what you aiming at, Degree or diploma

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Design offers you a chance to produce work that you can be really proud of – and would be happy to show off. So I would say it is the end result.

What are the things you look for when hiring aspirant employees in your field?

– A portfolio. You’ll know in 15 seconds the designer’s skill level.

– Passion and self-motivation. You need someone who shares your vision.

What does your average working day consist of?

I am responsible for designing advertisements, banners, and features that go into our weekly publications.

What are the benefits of running a business in a growing economy such as Zululand?

As the economy grows, more small businesses emerge, and today there are two essential things a business needs to be viewed as valuable and relevant. Those things are a quality logo and a website. Having these two things will increase sales which is essential for a business to survive. Being a graphic designer means you play a big role in the development of small businesses and so it is very unlikely to be out of work if you can market yourself correctly.

What kind of person do you think is best suited to this type of career?

You should be highly motivated, must be able to take criticism, should be a good communicator, learn how to manage time. You have to be passionate and imaginative and always push your limits.

Be bold or italic, never regular.

What advice can you give to students who are interested in your field of study?

When you become a graphic designer you will look at everything differently: from posters and magazine covers, to pieces of furniture, buildings and the gadgets you use every day. You’ll gain a new perspective on the world. One of the most exciting things about being a designer in today’s world is the freedom it gives you to work from pretty much anywhere you like. There is a big demand for good designers all over the world.

Gavin Carey is an optometrist at Moffatt Optical in the Sanlam Centre, Empangeni.

Describe your profession:

Optometry is a profession registered with the South African Medical Association that specialises in the general health of the eye.
This profession is the first line in the diagnosis of eye pathology or disease.Optometry is a profession registered with the South African Medical Association as a primary health care practitioner specialising in the assessment of the general health of the eye. Our profession is the first line in the diagnosis of eye pathology or disease.We assist people with general eye and visual comfort and improve visual performance of the eyes to enhance their day-to-day activities and functions such as driving, reading and studying, computer work and general visual information.

What does it take to be successful in this career?

To be successful in this career, you have to enjoy working with people. You need a lot of patience and commitment. You have to be able to analyse people’s specific needs and try to resolve their problems in an affordable and practical manner.Keeping up to date with new advancements and technologies and being able to present these to people of all ages and backgrounds is of importance to your success.

What do you have to study to qualify for this career?

In secondary school, Maths, Science and Biology are an advantage for selection into university.

A Bachelor of Optometry degree course (four years) is only offered at the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Free State, the University of KZN and the University of Limpopo.

A diploma course (three years) is offered at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of this career is having the ability to change people’s lives by giving them a clear and comfortable vision so that they have the confidence and ability to do anything they chose to do. The long term relationships that are made with many people and their family members become treasured over time.

What are the things you look for when hiring aspirant employees in your field?

When employing people in this field they have to be able to communicate with and win the confidence of the people they come in contact with.

Communicating with people is important, as you have to obtain reliable and thorough information in a case history.  You have to be able to assess the core issues in a short period of time.

What does your average working day consist of?

A complete visual and health assessment is done with the use of specialised equipment. An optometrist prescribes the necessary lenses and frames, fits and checks the jobs that have been completed by the workshops for accuracy. We refer patients to other fields of expertise if needed (Neurologist, Opthalmologist or GP). We also have various administrative duties with regards to debtors, creditors and day-to-day operations of the practice. We educating and train staff in the various practices.

What advice can you give to students who are interested in your field of study?

Set your goals and work hard towards them.  It is possible to achieve anything you set your mind on.

What are the benefits of running a business in a growing economy such as Zululand?

The benefits of owning your own business is that you have more influence over your own destiny.  You have the ability to geniunely make changes in people’s lives and assist your community in various ways and in return support your business with their loyalty.

Ronelle Ramsamy is the Managing Editor at the Zululand Observer and a journalist by profession.

Describe your profession.

Being a journalist allows you to touch base with people from different spheres of life. For me, no single day has been the same. When I was out in the field reporting, I could tell the story of a gogo struggling to survive in a one-room shack in Mandlazini and the next day I could have the honour of interviewing the president or a former Olympic champion in the Bay. This is the nature of our job.
Working in a newspaper environment affords us the unique ability to see the world without filters and to be in touch with reality and the harsh plight of many South Africans and Zululanders on the ground. In other words, we get to see the worst and best and are able to relate to and tell the stories of ordinary South Africans.

What does it take to be successful in this career?

You must have a good command of one or two languages; write and speak well.

Stories are often fast-breaking, so you must be flexible and able to think on your feet.

Deadlines are typically tight, so be prepared to write with speed and accuracy. Necessary traits include the ability to discern fact from fiction and being a resourceful researcher. Ideally, you should be a peoples’ person and make as many contacts as possible.

What do you have to study, both at secondary and tertiary level, to qualify for this career?

You must excel in the languages at school, especially English/Zulu/Afrikaans. A degree in journalism, English, or communications is beneficial for those wishing to pursue a career in journalism.

How many years of study does it take to qualify?

It takes four years to complete a degree in Journalism full-time. However, many budding journalists seek internships during their last two years of university and the final year of study can also be pursued part-time over a longer period of time while working at a newspaper of TV station.

What kind of person do you think is best suited to this type of career? 

Most journalists have an artistic personality. This means you probably prefer creative activities like art, drama, crafts, dance, music, or creative writing. You are expressive, well spoken, original and independent.

What is the most rewarding part of your job and/or career?

Through our job, we have the unique ability to help people in dire situations and make a difference in a struggling community. This is the power we have in our hands. We can change someone’s life for the better through the power of a word or photo.

What are the things you look for when hiring aspirant employees in your field?

Journalists must ask questions and have a ‘nose for news’. They must be able to relate well to diverse people and to adapt to constantly changing circumstances.
Becoming a journalist takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

What does your average working day consist of?

My role is to plan the layout of the paper and decide on the overall look of each page, which stories get prominence and where and how they are placed. I liaise with the News Editor and journalists daily to plan/brainstorm story ideas and to ensure that there is enough quality copy to fill each publication.

What advice can you give to students who are interested in your field of study?

Journalism is a passion. You must love what you are doing. Think big, but start small. It is highly
unlikely that your first job as a journalist will be high-paying or high profile, but getting a job at a community newspaper or local television station is a good beginning. Once you are working in the field, you will have the chance to prove yourself and actively seek advancement. It also takes working at some jobs you might not like to get to the place you want to be. Be patient and don’t give up your goal.

Peter Ronalds is the owner of Edwards Pharmacy.

Describe your profession.

I am a pharmacist who runs a retail business serving the community.

What does it take to be successful in this career?

It takes long hours, hard work, being able to work with staff and, very importantly, to serve the public and help to guide them in their health requirements.

What do you have to study, both at secondary and tertiary level, to qualify for this career?

Matric with Mathematics and preferably one or two other sciences like Physics and Chemistry or Biology, or both. Tertiary level includes the following: Pharmacology, Pharmaceutics, Chemistry, Pathology, Physiology, Pharmacy Practice, Microbiology, Physics, Stats, Philosophy and Parapsychology.

How many years of study does it take to qualify and what advice can you give to students who are interested in the field?

It takes four years at a university, one-year internship and one year of community service. There are many branches that a qualified Pharmacist can choose as a career other than retail pharmacy (community pharmacy) e.g. hospital pharmacy, manufacturing, research, sales, cosmetic manufacturing, etc.

What advice can you give to students who are interested in your field of study?

There is no easy way in any business, but having a passion for what you do is very important. Like in many businesses, the benefits only come with hard work and sadly, there are no short cuts. A thriving economy does offer good opportunities but it also attracts new opposition into the area.

Dr Marianne Truter (PhD Education Management Law and Policy Studies) is the Deputy Principal at Veldenvlei Primary School.

Describe your business/profession:

I started at Veldenvlei Primary School in 1994 as an educator. I was promoted to Head of Department in 2001 and as Deputy Principal in 2004.
I am a member of the school management team. I teach Social Sciences and am Head of Culture, organising events like choir and music evenings. I am also the school counsellor.

What do you have to study to qualify for this career?

Only a Bachelor’s pass on the National Senior Certificate can lead to a tertiary degree or diploma. To qualify as a professional teacher, you need a B Ed degree.

How many years of study does it take to qualify?

It takes four years at university to obtain a B Ed degree. You can also study part time (distance education) through UNISA, where you have to complete 40 modules (four years).
You can also study towards a degree in Education through Embury Institute for Teacher Education in Durban.

What kind of person is best suited to this type of career?

You need to have a caring nature and good people skills. Education managers need passion and a clear vision. You need problem solving skills, excellent communication skills and a good sense of humour.

What advice do you have for aspirant educators?

Try to get involved in a full time school based teacher training programme. We offer such a programme at Veldenvlei Primary School. The student gains practical experience whilst studying towards a degree. It also allows the student teacher to gain experience in the Foundation, Intermediate and Senior Phase.

Shaun Kommer is the Sports Director at Grantleigh.

Describe your profession.

As Head of Sport at Grantleigh, I have to ensure our students have the opportunity to play and excel at all the sport codes on offer at Grantleigh. The main goal is to nurture a love for sport and physical exercise that will last into adulthood. This is done through the managing and assistance of our very able sports coaches, with the support and hard work of our two sports coordinators Mrs R Kommer (Prep School) and Mr G Bishop (College). The main focus is always to constantly seek new and innovative ways to encourage students to participate in sport.

What does it take to be successful in this career?

You must have a passion for sport, an expansive knowledge of a wide variety of sport and an extensive coaching background. Most of all, good people and problem solving skills.

What do you have to study to qualify for this career?

There are no set criteria. A teaching degree is preferable, but in my case, I have a BA Sports Coaching and B Sc Biokinetics (Hons) as well as postgraduate certificate in Education.

How many years of study does it take to qualify?

Under grad was three years, Honours one year and an additional year of internship. Finally, one year to complete the PGCE. In total, six years were spent studying.

What kind of person do you think is best suited to this type of career?

Passionate, hard-working and, above all, a person that works well with students of all ages, as well as their parents.

What is the most rewarding part of your job and/or career?

When you see the team you coach perform to its full potential and the pride the students show when they put on the school jersey for a match.

What are the things you look for when hiring aspirant employees in your field?

  • Dedication
  • An expansive knowledge of a wide variety of sports
  • Passion
  • Good people skills
  • Good administration skills

What does your average working day consist of?

7.15am – morning meeting; 7.30–11am – administration; 11am–1pm – physical education classes; 1.20– 2.30pm coaching; 2.30–4pm – meetings. Mid-week fixtures replace the afternoon meetings once or twice a week.

What advice can you give to students who are interested in your field of study?

Find as many coaching courses as you can for as many sports as you can. If you have a degree, complete a PGCE.

What are the benefits of running a business in a growing economy such as Zululand?

The more people in the district, the more children in our schools, which will result in more competitive teams. With the growing economy, schools and enterprises are constantly looking to improve and stay on the forefront of their fields.

Pravesh Lotton is the Service Manager and Diagnostic Technician at Land Rover Empangeni

What do you have to study to qualify for this career?
On secondary level, you need maths core, physics and technical drawing (EGD). You need good matric results to be accepted into a technical college. At technical college, a minimum of an N3 in motor theory/diesel trade theory is needed to get accepted into most apprenticeship programmes in the motor industry. The subject you’ll need are maths, physics, technical drawing, meccano technology, motor trade/diesel trade theory.

How many years of study does it take to qualify?
Upon completing the N3 qualification, you will need to find employment as an apprentice to start your practical training. During this time, you will be registered with MERSETA and will be required to write a total of four tests at an approved training centre. These test can be written every six months and require the candidate to pass the test before moving onto the next level. Once all four levels are passed, you will then become a qualified technician.

What advice do you have for aspirant students?
The industry has changed substantially over the years and should no longer be seen as a ‘dirty’ job. In fact, our technicians spend more time using laptops, iPad and diagnostic software to identify faults and problems than they do stripping and assembling vehicles. The industry as a whole is also changing rapidly with the advent of autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles entering the market. These innovations present exciting times for the profession and should be taken into considered by those students who are thinking of entering this industry.

Sandra Kendall is a teacher at Empangeni Educare Centre.

Describe your business/profession.

I am a Foundation Phase Educator.

What does it take to be successful in this career?

A sincere, realistic love for children, an ability to communicate effectively and lots of patience.

What do you have to study to qualify for this career?

At Secondary level, study all your subjects to your utmost, you never know in which direction your teaching career will take you. At tertiary level, a degree in either Foundation or Intermediate Phase is a good starting point. Post-graduate qualifications are available in many diverse fields of education, including special needs and subject-related topics.

How many years of study does it take to qualify?

It takes a minimum of three years of distance learning, which I would recommend, combined with practical voluntary work in the classroom.

What kind of person is best suited to this career?

Educators are born, not made. Patience, kindness, tolerance, flexibility, good communication skills, empathy. The list of strengths can go on and on, but first comes that inborn drive to teach.

What is the most rewarding part of your job and/or career?

Without a doubt, it’s the look on every child’s face when they suddenly realise that they can read. The moment that those black squiggles start to mean something, that is priceless!

What are the things you look for when hiring aspirant employees in your field?

I watch their reaction to the children as they walk through the playground. If they stop to talk, or smile and laugh at the kids, they have completed the first half of the interview. Obviously, minimum qualification are necessary, and also a willingness to continue studying is a recommendation.

What does your average working day consist of?

We start the day at 7:15am with lots of greetings from the children, including all the news (‘look, teacher, my tooth fell out’). After assembly, we have a curriculum framework which needs to be presented to the children, covering Mathematics, languages and Life Skills. During these periods, all of the child’s life environment is involved, and discussions can become very lively.We have snack breaks in between for a quick cup of coffee, and more often than not, playground duty, with more conversations, jokes and playing with the kids. We have aftercare until 5pm, so if we are on duty, we have a long day, fitting in marking, preparation and assessments wherever we can. Teaching is not for the weak!

What advice can you give to students who are interested in your field of study?

Apply yourself to getting your degree, and try to find somewhere where you can do somepractical work. Many youngsters think that the idea of teaching sounds good, but find the practical experience overwhelming (as a class of 20 noisy, active 6- or 7-year-olds can be).

What are the benefits of running a business in a growing economy such as Zululand?

I find that Zululand parents take education very seriously. They are ambitious for theirChildren, which makes running our business a pleasure as we are in a partnership with the parents. It is a very exciting to me to be growing as a business together with the District, which is striving to become an economic hub for the area.

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