The School of Life Sciences hosted a career day for final-year and postgraduate students on the Pietermaritzburg campus with alumni providing the students with insight into where their careers could take them.
Academic Leader of Biotechnology in Pietermaritzburg, Professor Carola Niesler, welcomed guests to the event, saying that both undergraduate and postgraduate students would find the event useful in planning for their future jobs. More than 260 students attended the event.
Dean and Head of the School, Professor Ademola Olaniran, opened proceedings; giving an overview of the School and acknowledging the presence of staff, invited speakers and students who had made the time to attend.
‘It is an exciting occasion, especially because of the number of students and speakers. The School wants to bring potential employers to you (students) and keep you well-informed. The School is promoting excellence in teaching and learning through this kind of forum and we want to challenge ourselves to produce graduates that contribute by getting industry input,’ said Olaniran.
Students heard from Mr Nthuthuko Mkhize of the Agricultural Research Council; Mr Mcebo Mkhize of Umgeni Water; Mr Yusuf Jugmohan of Lasec; Dr Dawn Stephens of the Technology Innovation Agency; Dr Nick Walker of ONEBIO business accelerator; Ms Kaveesha Naicker of the South African National Biodiversity Institute; Mr Duncan Hay of the Institute of Natural Resources; Mr Zethembe Shazi of the SMME funding vehicle Valigap (Pty) Ltd; Ms Megan Gemmell of Clockwork Brewhouse; and Ms Ayanda Gumede and Ms Varsha Poorun of South African Breweries. Each presenter gave an overview of the opportunities available at their organisations and advised students to be self-motivated, determined and to continue learning throughout their careers.
Dr Charles Hunter, microbiology lecturer and member of the organising committee, said he enjoyed Shazi’s “no-holds barred” presentation, with its take-home message that emotional intelligence is as important as intellect in pursuit of a career.
Master’s candidates in Biochemistry, Mr Andile Langa and Mr Ntethelelo Sibisi, said the event was informative, eye-opening and helpful.
Words: Christine Cuénod