The journey I had always dreamed of, unfolded right before my eyes …
It all started when I applied to be part of the PPS LEAP work-readiness programme in 2018, set to take place over three days at the PPS head office. That particular contact session was intended for pre-alumni students – this was a group of eager individuals whom the PPS Foundation invested time and resources during school holidays.
I remember vividly how on the first day we were welcomed with open hearts and warm hands and for me, it seemed surreal how a company took the time to present us with a fully-decked programme that would empower each and every one of us. Regardless of whether one day we worked for the company or not.
Over the course of the programme, we learned about CV writing, how to deal with rejection and improving for the next interview, presenting, emotional intelligence, the importance of being punctual (at all times!) and professional behaviour at work, as well as financial matters such as drawing up a monthly budget and saving. Lastly, even though we may have heard of it before, we learned and practiced how to deliver an elevator pitch at any given time.
My participation in LEAP - which stands for Learned, Engage, Accelerated Professionals - was nothing short of phenomenal. Personally, I am of the view that every student should be exposed to such and the programme itself should be a pre-requisite because it helps bridge the gap between tertiary and the work environment. In my case, I began seeing the value I received from the work-readiness contact sessions once I fast-forwarded to my role as an intern at PPS.
In Financial Advisory - the department I am part of - each day is stimulating. I learn new things all the time and the people around me help in making every day a success. When I first started working at PPS in February 2019, I was really scared and anxious. Eventually, it felt like home. It is as if everyone at the company has the same characteristics, the people here are friendly and welcoming – so it was reassurning that this didn’t start and stop on my first encounter with the staff in 2018. I must say that adapting to the work and environment becomes less stressful when the team one is part of offers and reinforces the support.
I am also grateful for the solid foundation that has been laid for my career development because during my time here I have gained invaluable skills such as networking with people and improving my confidence levels because I meet with clients on a regular basis.
When I recall how overwhelmed and nervous I was for my first client engagement, what put me at ease was the help I received from my manager, my mentor, and the other experienced Financial Advisors. It was an aha-moment because it felt like I was proposing a business deal – just like the elevator pitch exercise during LEAP - and at that moment I had to make it count.
Halfway through the internship, I realise that my success in the programme has not been based solely on my efforts, but on the fact that there has always been someone willing to help me to accelerate my growth as I become an engaged young professional.
- Tiisetso Sebola