David Tlale. Picture: Phando Jikelo

“It is important for you to know that the sky is the limit,” said Felleng Yende, CEO of FP&M SETA in her opening address at the FP&M SETA Skills and Career Development Summit and Expo. 

The Summit is taking place on Friday (Sep 15) at the UNISA Conference Centre in Johannesburg.

The 2017 FP&M SETA Skills and Career Development Summit commenced in Johannesburg on Thursday. 

Grade 10 to 12 learners from high schools around Gauteng sang South Africa’s national anthem, finishing with a flourish and a cheer: “In South Africa our land!” The summit's singular purpose is preparing and uplifting learners for a better future.

The crowd of learners became even more boisterous as Pearl Shongwe, news anchor for SABC, stepped on stage. She welcomed the learners as “VVVVVVVIPs” and encouraged every person to make the most of this opportunity, because “your career is not just completing your studies and then you graduate and it is over. Your career is for the rest of your life.”

She set the stage for the inspirational speakers to follow and drew laughs from the crowd when she explained that career success depends on the individual.

“You make your own [career] sexy. You can make yourself sexy, you can make education sexy, you can make your career sexy! It’s up to you.” 

Renowned fashion designer David Tlale continued this dialogue: “Young people today look up to government to say, “You owe us this.” Government owes you nothing, but you owe yourself everything in this life. You owe yourself to go to school, to become powerful, and if you are an excellent student, opportunity will chase you; you will not chase opportunity.”

The stories of success from humble beginnings was the golden thread throughout the presentations. When the floor was opened for questions, learners asked about the difficulties they can expect to face in the world of entrepreneurship and what motivates these professionals. One bold learner even asked for funding for his small business.

* For live updates on the Summit, follow the #CareerSummit hashtag on Twitter or watch it on www.capemedia.tv.