A Melting Pot Of Skills Goes A Long Way In The World Of Work

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Key skills include digital literacy, problem solving, adaptability, critical thinking and being able to communicate effectively. While many of these essential skills which are touted for the future of work can be studied for, some are learned – and sometimes the long and arduous way.


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The old adage if at first you don’t succeed, try again could have been written for Denice Dumisa.

Today the 26-year-old, originally from Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga but now resident in Johannesburg, is part of Astron Energy’s graduate internship programme, working at the company’s Alberton Alrode Terminal.

Three years prior he was working long hours as a petrol attendant at the Rabie Fontainbleau Caltex service station in Randburg, Johannesburg, whilst also studying towards a degree in logistics at the University of Johannesburg.

Just getting to that point had been an exercise in determination and perseverance, and some good fortune.

Dumisa had moved to Joburg and completed his primary and secondary schooling there. 

“I completed matric in 2014 but we struggled to make ends meet,” he says of this time.

However, the school leaver is blessed with a natural drive and enrolled to study Early Childhood Development part-time while he started working at a food production facility.

“However, we were retrenched and this was a very difficult moment in my life.”

“I then ended up working short stints in retail, including a furniture store, a butchery, and even started a small business collecting and selling scrap, trying everything in order to survive,” he says. 

He was forced to give up his studies due to lack of funding. It was some time after his retrenchment when he found himself in Gandhi Square, the famous Joburg landmark, where he saw and was inspired by students milling around.     

“It made me want to change the course of my life,” he recalls.

There and then Dumisa walked the seven kilometres or so to the University of Joburg’s Auckland Park campus with a view to obtaining information and registering for the academic year. 

“However, when I got there it was already closed and I was told to come back the next day.”

He returned and applied to study logistics even though he had no money for the registration fee and was forced to ask around for assistance in the area. A local businessman heard of his plight and paid his registration fee. 

“It was the breakthrough of my life,” he says.

He applied himself to his studies and continued to work-part time as a service station attendant at Caltex at Fontainbleu to pay his way through varsity.

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