Talent Manager Mawande talks about using his skills and experience to found a non-governmental organisation (NGO) called Uplifting Job Seekers to support his local community.

In addition to his role within Capita’s Talent Acquisition team, Mawande saw an opportunity to use his local professional network to help young people in his area. He has now created a support network helping job seekers of all ages, connecting them to opportunities to learn and grow.
It meant so much to me to be able to host the 3rd annual job fair in Kayamnandi, Stellenbosch, Cape Town. Over 70 ordinary people had an opportunity to engage with HR professionals and submit their CVs to three major companies in South Africa within the BPO and hospitality industry.

Where it all started

Initially I wanted to help job seekers in Kayamnandi with CV writing, but when I gathered the community, I found out that the challenge was more than creating a winning CV, but a lack of basic business skills. The majority of attendees didn’t even know how to use a computer while others had not even had employment since they finished their education. That’s when I founded an NGO called Uplifting job Seekers. Over the last three years, my organisation has been able to assist job seekers with CV writing, interview coaching, networking and skills transfer, such as hospitality training. That’s where the job fair comes in.

Using my contacts

To be able to host the fair, I used my large LinkedIn network of over 30,000 people developed over years working in the recruitment industry. I got a few companies involved, including HR Unplugged, One&Only Hotel, Likamva Hospitality and Surgo. Each of these companies offer unique skills. HR Unplugged offer basic skills required to excel in the working environment and to also help job seekers understand their rights. One&Only Hotel offer CV writing, interview coaching and help job seekers understand what employers are looking for. Likamva Hospitality offers practical skills in the hospitality industry. It was really important to me that all these companies felt the same as I do about creating employment opportunity for traditionally disadvantaged groups.

To get the word out about the fair, we printed pamphlets and also walked around Kayamnandi, engaging with the community. On the day of the event the guests themselves were gracious enough to walk around the streets promoting the event.

Challenging times

We’ve had some big issues around funding because we could not find sponsors for the event. Fortunately, my team were able to help in contributing from their own pockets and we were able to generate enough money to market the event and organise lunch for the attendees.

Motivating factors

The job fair is important to me because I want to help people who are not able to get jobs, to find work. I’ve always wanted to help people who are disadvantaged – and now I can. I’m proud of the project because I can see the impact it’s having on the locals, and I plan to organise another job fair before the end of 2023.


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