Name and Surname: Mawande Mbola
Qualification details: National Diploma in Environmental Management completed in 2011 at the Cape Peninsula University of technology (CPUT).
Certificate in Project Management completed in 2014 at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Short courses: Health & Safety, First Aid, Emerging Management Development Programme, Alien invasives Identification and legislations – Directives.
Birthplace: KuGatyane (Willowvale) in Eastern Cape
Current location: Komani (Queenstown)
What are you currently doing: Project Manager: Rural Sustainable Villages project within the Chris Hani District Municipality
Quote that motivates your work: A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has
- When you were younger, what did you think you’d become?
I thought I would become a Town planner or Climatologist
- Tell us about your career path. What steps did you take to get where you are?
In high school I chose the Science and Mathematics which were in line with the above-mentioned career paths. In grade 11 I attended a careers exhibition at the Good Hope centre in Cape Town and that is where I discovered an interest in Environmental studies during a presentation from a CPUT stall that was present at the exhibition. I did my own research afterwards and found that it is still an emerging field and it was not as popular as your Engineering, Accounting fields.
My grade 12 teacher also encouraged a number of us to consider the field and his most important message was that the other field will become saturated over time and it will be difficult for new entries like ourselves to stand out from everyone as so many ideas have been discovered. And, so I enrolled for the course and started in 2008 and the rest is history.
- What influenced your career choice?
When I heard of the course during the career’s exhibition, I immediately reflected back to where I come from. My home is situated within a kilometer of a nature reserve on the coast and from that point on I started noticing the biodiversity where I come from and that really influenced my decision to enroll for the course on Environmental Management in the view that one day I will work with on in the nature reserve.
- Did you know about this career when you were younger?
No, I only heard of it in my grade 11 class
- Describe a typical work day?
I will start at the office to do a bit of administration such as emails, update my schedule and confirm upcoming meetings and head to field (Schools) either to do an awareness training on various subjects such as Renewable energy, Waste Management, Food gardening and Rainwater harvesting. The awareness trainings are always the first step before I do an action project in schools relating to either of those subjects.
- What makes your work exciting?
I get to work infield and be in touch with nature and most of the time I learn from nature
- What makes your work challenging?
I am implementing projects to address climate change within the local context, different sites pose different challenges and I constantly have to come up with different solutions for each of the sites. It is never a one solution fits all job
- If you had to pinpoint a defining moment in your career, what would that be?
Groen Sebenza internship, that is where I received a lot of exposure and I was fortunate to have good mentors who showed me the ropes
- When did you know for sure this career is for you?
In grade 12, that is where I had done my thorough research and found it very interesting and very broad. I discovered that within the career there are so many different branches that one could take if they need a different challenge
- What do you wish you knew, before you started on this career path?
I wish I knew how to make business opportunities out of this career path and my research only focused on jobs that would be available after completion of the course.
- How does your current role fit into your career goals?
It’s a major step towards my dream. I am gaining necessary exposure and good networks towards my goal
- What are your next steps? What do you still need to do to achieve your ideal work situation?
To further my studies, with the career so broad I believe I’m at the right state with enough experience to choose a specific field to specialize in.
- What advice would you give to a young person?
Look beyond what you already know and you might find a treasure waiting for you and study hard