Alumni share experiences at 2014 Career Talks

30 Sep 2014 - 11:30

The Faculty, in collaboration with the Humanities student councils, hosted the second Humanities Alumni Career Talks from 10 - 11 September 2014. The two-day initiative consisted of a TEDTalk on technology and innovation, video vox pops screenings,  a careers twitter campaign and an evening of networking with prominent alumni.

Themed “the value of your humanities degree”, the annual event brings successful alumni into contact with current Humanities students. In this way, alumni are able to share their experiences and outline the career opportunities available as a result of the Humanities qualification. The event aims to address concerns expressed by students regarding job prospects and potential career-pathing. Each year, alumni are invited to deliver motivation talks aimed at laying these anxieties to rest. The talks are followed by a lively question and answer session, enabling students the opportunity to engage with the speakers and potential employers.

This 2014 event featured a diverse panel of speakers representing four key employment destinations for Humanities students. : government; corporate advertising and marketing; civil society and the performing and creative arts sector. Alan Hirsch, who held the position of  chief economist in the office of presidency and has played a leading role within Government aganecies for many years is now the director of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice. He spoke of the need for Humanities graduates in government programme planning and implementation. He said that postgraduates students in particular stood an excellent chance of achieving financially rewarding and stimulating careers within local and national government. Avukile Mabombo, a successful Brand Manager for AMSTEL Lager and other iconic South African beverage brands was joined Nathan Geffen who is editor of GroundUp and a member of  the Treatment Action Campaign. Nathan provided an alternate perspective on the employment opportunities within the NGO space and he challeged those who wanted to make a meaningful difference in society to look beyond corporate to find their niche contribution within civil society instead. The fourth speaker, Gerald Machona, is a graduate of the Michaelis School of Fine Art and prolific artist who works with sculture, photography, new media and film. He has returned to  UCT to take up a tutoring position at Michealis. Gerald was recently included in Mail & Guardian's 200 Young South African list for 2013, and was selected by Business Day and the Johannesburg art Fair as one of the top ten young South Afrian artists practicing in South Africa.

The event provided an ideal opportunity to showcase student talent. Fine Art students Aaron Samuel Mulenga, Rory Emmett and Alexander Oelofse wowed with a showcase of incredible artwork and South African College of Music ensemble comprised of Keegan Steenkamp, Elizabeth Gaylord, Dylan Fine, Jaren Hendricks and Jo Kunnuji, provided the prefect musical backdrop during the networking stages of the evening  with jazz tunes. Other distinguished guests included Professor Sakhela Buhlungu, the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and representatives from UCT Air. The event was free of charge and open to all Humanities students and other interested student from other Faculties.

“I found the event not only to be a wonderful celebration of the Faculty of Humanities excellence, but I also felt respected and catered for as a Humanities student in terms of career- pathing. After the inspiring talks the foyer moved into a hub of networking and career ideas were bouncing around. Energy and hopes towards the future were certainly raised as speakers reaffirmed us of bright futures and tore down the negative stereotypes of a Humanities degree.” Aimee Brenner, Humanities Student Council member