Hailing from Shawela village in rural Limpopo province, Clement Lebea has been an intern at WDB Investment Holdings (WDBIH) since the beginning of March 2020. Despite the challenges of the workplace during a pandemic, he has created a space to shine.
Clement Lebea | Never Give Up On Your Dreams
After attending Realedisha High School, a secondary school in Ditshosing, Limpopo, Clement Lebea went on to study a BCom in economics at the University of Limpopo.
“I studied BCom economics because I was always concerned about the economic issues of the country and wanted to see myself contributing towards correcting those economic issues with the knowledge acquired through my studies,” says Clement.
He currently lives in Tembisa and works at the WDBIH head office in Rosebank as an intern in the finance department.
“I heard about WDBIH from an agency and I was interested in applying because I have good problem-solving skills and I saw an opportunity for me to learn and grow these skills, so that I can benefit personally, professionally and financially, and it would help to develop my career,” says Clement. “I was interested in WDBIH’s unique collaborative environment and how it would allow me to support my colleagues.”
WDBIH Business Manager Rose Mamabolo says that with youth unemployment sitting at almost 75% in the latest stats, all corporates in South Africa need to invest in the mentorship of graduates. WDBIH leads by example with a dedicated intern programme that mentors young people in the workplace.
During their time with WDB, the interns were exposed to the various divisions within WDBIH and the WDB Trust, as well as being placed with associate companies of the organisation.
As an intern, Clement admits that being thrown in at the deep end is part of the deal. He worked under WDB’s Siyakhula Trust in the finance department and is proud of the fact that he was pulled into many aspects of the business, including admin support, where he was responsible for the capturing of loan applications, working with receipt allocations, bank statements, disbursements and managing client files, as well as travelling to different branches to perform internal audits.
Clement says that being part of the WDBIH internship program has been a great experience in every way.
“I have managed to meet new people while establishing a network of professional contacts, mentors and references, and I have gained valuable experience and accomplishments to add to my resume and enhance my application in the workplace.”
I studied BCom economics because I was always concerned about the economic issues of the country and wanted to see myself contributing towards correcting those economic issues with the knowledge acquired through my studies
Solutions for Youth Unemployment?
He is very clear on what needs to be done when it comes to tackling the unemployment issue in South Africa.
“More employment (especially for the youth) will only happen if government stops with the misadministration of funds in provinces and invests more in building working facilities, which will accommodate graduates from schools, and supporting more firms that focus mainly on locally produced products, which will help our economy to grow.”
While things are tough, he believes that it’s a no-brainer that entrepreneurship can play a role going forward, because if these start-up businesses have the opportunity to grow, that means more employment will be available, and the economy in turn will grow.
He says the private sector needs to seek out investments and look towards expansion, with a long-term view of the future.
“What the corporate and private sector can do then is to find more investors who can invest in expanding or growing their business so they can empower the youth with skills and training and then absorb them into their field of work.”
Clement knows first-hand that structured mentoring makes all the difference when gearing up graduates for the workplace.
“A mentoring programme, like the one that WDBIH offers, is important because it creates loyalty and a sense of belonging. And a mentoring program promotes a collaborative learning environment, where it is encouraged that employees gain knowledge from those around them. Mentoring creates a safe place for people to learn; they are comfortable taking risks and making mistakes because they understand they are constantly learning.”
He puts the notion forward that while corporates need to play a role, government really needs to up the stakes when it comes to investing in the youth. This includes encouraging employers to reform HR practices and encourage training providers to focus more on skills, including job-readiness skills that are directly demanded by employers for placement.
“Youth who participate in demand-driven training programmes and are hired into jobs become valuable, since they were motivated to perform well and were assimilated quickly into the work environment,” he says.
Clement hopes to see himself having used his WDBIH internship as a valuable stepping stone in the world of finance in South Africa.
“In the next 10 years, I hope I have moved into a position very much like this one, but with more of an impact on the department’s big-picture development. I would like to find myself in a position to mentor others in the field, putting my experience to use in ways that help others achieve what I have attained.”
Youth who participate in demand-driven training programmes and are hired into jobs become valuable, since they were motivated to perform well and were assimilated quickly into the work environment
June is Youth Month in South Africa but this year there really is no reason to celebrate when considering the challenges the youth are facing. For Clement, it is a time of reflection.
“Youth Month means that we as young people look back at what the youth in the past have done to ensure we are free as young people. The day celebrates young people and their contribution to development. It recognises that the young people are the future leaders and must be treated as such.”
He strongly believes that empowerment starts with the individual, and his passion is investing in his personal health and wellness.
“My health inspires me; being alive, being fit and healthy is everything, especially with Coronavirus and the madness in the world right now. My gratitude and the fact that I am healthy is a source of inspiration, I don’t take any of it for granted. Waking up every day and being able to do so much with my day is a blessing.”
The WDBIH Internship Programme
WDBIH started an internship programme in 2017, taking in 10 graduates (six women and four men) with the primary aim of giving them a year or two of exposure to the finance and investment world, making it easier for them to secure employment. Following this, there was a second intake in 2019 and a third in 2020. WDBIH’s internship programme has impacted over 22 interns since 2017. This programme has proved to be quite successful, with over 90% of our interns obtaining permanent employment in various corporate sectors.