Opportunity to gain experience given to Interns and Students

Interns and their Mentors, Portfolio Councillors with Executive Management from Eden District Municipality (Eden DM), all foregathered on 15 February 2017 at Eden DM’s Joint Operation Centre.

The group of mentees and mentors standing behind the leaders who played a vital role in making sure that initiatives that better the lives of communities are rolled out annually. Seated are (fltr): Acting Municipal Manager, Mr Clive Africa; Deputy Executive Mayor, Cllr Rosina Ruiters who is also the Chairperson of the Local Economic Development Forum; The Executive Manager, Corporate-/Strategic Services, Ms Trix Holtzhausen and Cllr Isaya Stemela, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Corporate Services

This occasion has become a tradition, a platform given to mentees and mentors to share their insights and experiences which contributed to their growth over the months of working alongside each other. Some interns do not only work in one specific section, but are rotated throughout the organisation to broaden their experience and understanding of how Local Government works.

Mentees listen attentively to a powerful message by Mr Clifford Sheldon, Eden DM Fleet Manager, who is also a well known transformational coach

This is the fifth consecutive year, since 2012, that Eden DM opened their doors to students who needed experience in order to grow and enhance their opportunities to pursue a career choice. To date, 47 interns and students have been hired by Eden DM since 2012. These type of initiatives offer more highs than lows; the ultimate low for everyone has always been to say goodbye to mentees. Soon, five mentees, including Mr Bandile Mbalo, Ms Andisiwe Kelem, Ms Angela Louw, Mr Duwayne Pietersen and Mr Justin Cupido, will leave Eden DM behind as they spread their wings when they enter the outside working world.

Mr Clive Africa, Acting Municipal Manager, is one of many who has had to say goodbye to many full time employees over his employment at Eden DM.

This doesn’t mean that it makes it any easier for him to part with interns and students. He delivered an inspirational and emotional message to all present and shared his own journey and past struggles. He urged mentees not to be phased by struggles they experience in the present, because the day that matters the most is when a person achieves his/her goals and realises his/her purpose. “You don’t have any excuses not to make a success of this opportunity, think about this: The whitest lily grows in the darkest mud. This is your opportunity to grow, forget about all the sacrifices.”

The Executive Manager, Corporate-/Strategic Services, Ms Trix Holtzhausen gave an overview of the programme and emphasised that Eden DM constantly fills vacant positions of students and interns. One of the recent highlights for her was to see an intern who left the Eden DM service during 2014, be appointed as the IDP Manager at Prins Albert Municipality. “We are here to assist you and we want you to pursue the career of your dreams when you walk out of these doors,” said Ms Holtzhausen.

During her words of encouragement, the Deputy Executive Mayor who also chairs the Portfolio Local Economic Development Committee, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, shared her story of pursuing a career in Civil Engineering. She studied and received on-site training, this was not easy, but she achieved what she set out to do – obtaining a diploma in the field of Civil Engineering. She ended her address with a quote from the Former President of the United States of America, Mr Barack Obama: “Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.”

The Portfolio Chairperson of Corporate Services, Cllr Isaya Stemela, thanked the permanent employees of the municipality for empowering mentees by assisting with the development of their skills and increasing their knowledge. “I also didn’t have it easy, I had to attend night school to complete my high school qualification, this all happened while I had to work full time. I travelled to Cape Town every week and at times I missed class for a few days. I had to make alternative plans to get hold of what was discussed during class, so I asked my friends to give me their summaries to study.” What is happening here at Eden DM is that people’s lives are being changed for the better, it is something very dear to my heart and of great importance to me, I appreciate everyone’s efforts.

At the end of the programme, mentors and mentees had the chance to share and reflect on their time together. Here are some of their words of appreciation:

  Ms Angela Louw: Human Resources

We were given the freedom to be the persons we wanted to be in HR – that has given me the confidence to grow in the HR environment. I started off in Recruitment and Selection, then I moved to Labour Relations and now I am finishing my final days in the Training and Development Unit. The fact that I was rotated in the HR Section, helped me to decided exactly what I needed to focus on and I have decided to base my career on Labour Relations.

  Crystal Brown: Disaster Management
I come from the Eastern Cape and there’s not a lot of emphasis on Disaster Management. I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to learn from the best, Mr Gerhard Otto.
  Mr Akhona Mxutu: Communications

The mentors at Communications are always pushing me to my limits, because they know that it is tough out in the industry and I need to be comfortable with the work that is given to me.
  Ms Andisiwe Kelem: Tourism

The atmosphere is amazing and the people here do not make you feel like you are an intern. Eden has really groomed me, I have worked in Local Economic Development, Strategic Services and Tourism. One of the highlights of my time here was when I got my driver’s license.
   Mr Duwayne Booysen: Financial Services

While I was completing my CV, I had a time to reflect on all the experience that I have gained over the past three years, it feels unreal to see the list of all my skills.  I have worked in 7 different finance sections.

For any information about Municipal health, contact Eden DM’s Municipal Health Section at: 044 – 803 1300

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