The DST-NYS Volunteering Programme is a partnership between Mondi, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Youth Service (NYS). It enables unemployed Science, Engineering and Technology graduates and postgraduates to acquire practical work experience through mentoring and exposure. Mondi has been part of the programme since 2014, providing opportunities for qualified youth to get work experience, while identifying promising individuals who can benefit the business.
Bandile Maduna is seed production supervisor at Mt Home Nursery. He was originally placed in the Land Department, working under the supervision of Thokozile Maphula, Mondi community development facilitator.
‘My education involved a mixture of community development and agricultural science, so the position was perfect. Thokozile mentored me very well and I learned how Mondi relates to communities in its operational areas. I even got the opportunity to establish an agricultural project, thus contributing to food security in the area. My life and my family’s lives have changed. I’d like to thank NYS and DST for the support and Mondi for giving me the opportunity.’
Mapule Mohlamme is wood quality supervisor at Mt Home Nursery. She applied for the DSTNYS Volunteering Programme and received an opportunity to volunteer at Mondi Forests, before moving to the Mt Home Nursery to work in the Wood Quality Department at the Trahar Technology Centre. Mapule flourished and grew in confidence under the guidance of research scientist Nicci Edwards, and she was offered a permanent job as wood quality supervisor. Mapule is now doing her Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology through the Durban University of Technology.
‘I love my work. It’s a unique job. I study the chemical and physical components of wood – making improvements to ensure that the mills get the best quality and pulp yield. Students must work hard and learn everything they can; if you prove yourself, it will open up opportunities and lead to success.’