It was back in the youthful days in the rural village of Tshixwadza where I grew up with over 21 siblings. We were all looked after and our dad, Jame Ratshibvumo Mudzielwana had told us everyone would go to school. Going to school was to satisfy the parents, and because one would not want to study in the same class with younger siblings, passing was a must. What was puzzling was his commitment to take other community members to school until one day I asked him why and he answered that if the community could not go to school, it would be dependent on few that are successful. Today our village has over 60 graduates, and that has influenced other villages to value schooling.
Living in rural areas made everything looked normal. The vision was to complete school, have a job, have a rural house, have a rural family, and there was no internet and other resources that would influence life beyond the rural area. This is common to many villagers. Studying at a rural primary, secondary, and the University, future was a mystery; hence, after completing a degree in Environmental Sciences one had to work in a bakery and deliver newspapers. Thanks to Caxton for the certificate in Journalism after recognising my qualification.
When the light hits the village boy, it was time to explore the country where I worked in almost all provinces. In 2005, a moment of reality struck, and the entrepreneur in the rural boy revealed itself. I registered Tshikovha Environmental and Communication Consulting, an Environmental Impact Assessment consulting company which was aimed at assisting clients that could not be accepted by more prominent companies whose proposal processes would disqualify individuals. The company grew to be the access to jobs for graduates all over South Africa and Zimbabwe. Over the 14 years of operation, the company assisted over 200 graduates in getting experience and finding better jobs, and some became entrepreneurs.
The challenges I faced either by lack of exposure and perhaps ignorance of small vital things like computer literacy, I realised there is more to do to rural communities. When arriving in Gauteng where the mainstream Economy has requirements, I was not equipped to fit in, but the need for Environmentalists assisted me to be searched and found. The opposite happens to people without qualification and some with qualifications but unable to access the market.
It is through those challenges that Tshikovha Graduates Academy existed in 2016. Tshikovha Graduates Academy is a South African-based non-profit organisation that improves the socio-economic status of disadvantaged communities through skills development and job creation for new graduates and community members. Through the organisation, we identify community challenges in both rural and urban areas and develop solutions to address problems. We approach companies whose investments on CSI and Social Labour Plans shares common values with us to address challenges facing communities. We work with graduates and entrepreneurs to provide those solutions and therefore, train and develop professional and personal insight for graduates and entrepreneurs.
Tshikovha Graduates Academy measures the success of our work by the number of lives we have positively impacted and our positive environmental footprint. In the three years of our operations, we have partnered with governmental organisations, corporates, Corporate Social Investment initiatives, other non-profit organisations, international donors and local communities. We regularly respond to the government’s calls for community engagements to return to the socio-economic needs of the communities in which we operate.
Together, we catalyse and accelerate responses to socio-economic imbalances within disadvantaged South African communities. Our annual conferences, workshops, training programmes and events empower communities on their transformational journeys towards a sustainable and prosperous future.
In terms of the three Grand Global Challenges that we address, the protection of the environment is first and foremost. Our projects tackle environmental licences, illegal waste disposal and water pollution, promote responsible waste management and improve poor recycling strategies. We drill boreholes to ensure free access to clean water, alleviate the effects of drought, promote health and sanitation, and support productive small-scale farming practices. Through our Economic Development and Entrepreneurship projects, we teach business administration skills, implement mentorship programmes, and teach financial health.
By mobilising our stakeholders and available resources, we provide skills development, training and professional work experience for our candidates, through projects that address the Global Grand Challenges. Our database of graduates from various fields and specialities grows each year. Tshikovha Graduates Academy aspires to impact 10 000 graduates by 2022.
We offer sustainable jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities in Environmental Sciences that include waste recycling, litter collection, water management, agriculture and biodiversity, mining and engineering projects, all within the realm of responsible climate change practice.
Tshikovha Graduates Academy champions sustainable social labour plans that answer communities’ socio-economic needs. Our focus is to implement sustainable Corporate Social Investments (CSI) that create a clean and healthy environment in mining communities.
With the rise of exponential technologies that are becoming more accessible and affordable with time, new business opportunities and solutions to the Global Grand Challenges emerge. We incubate entrepreneurs to identify problems within their communities and create solutions with the global environment in mind. We aim to nurture an entrepreneurial mindset that applies technological and knowledge advances within their hyperlocal situations. Our entrepreneurs work in the communities in which they live, to inspire a passion for problem-solving, ensure their solutions are practical, sustainable and promote a sense of pride and ownership.
Our business experts aim to future-proof our entrepreneurs’ endeavours by assisting with business support, legal documentation and business plans, and by instructing them on customer acquisition and retention.
Tshikovha Graduates Academy also nurtures business ideas and start-ups into profitable and scalable business models. Through our partnerships with government agencies, we educate start-ups on business trends, alignment to and compliance with business regulations, brand positioning and the development of business goals in line with local and global trends. We teach them how to think globally to solve local problems.
By connecting start-ups and mining communities, we enable localised enterprise development and supplier development programmes that are Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment compliant.
Graduates, entrepreneurs, NGOs, government departments and local community members converge at our annual Tshikovha Graduates and Entrepreneur Empowerment Conference. Our role is to foster meaningful partnerships and Corporate Social Investment initiatives that are responsive to communities’ needs and provide problem-solving solutions with the environment at heart.
These information-sharing platforms highlight local issues and opportunities for employment, business development, sustainable wealth creation and available funding. All while utilising available assets and existing infrastructure within each community. Hand-selected speakers, with whom our attendees can identify, help to guide our attendees.
The first annual conference, held in Pretoria in 2017, was attended by 270 graduates and 20 entrepreneurs. The second conference, held in Nkomazi in 2018, saw 224 graduates, 26 business representative, and 20 corporates attend.
We invite companies that would want to work with us to contact us
076 431 1016 / 012 111 1912
First National Bank – Tshikovha Graduates Academy
Account: 62 590 477 371 (Current Account)
Branch: 252-145 (Hatfield)