“My first formal job has helped me overcome my laziness,” says Thapelo, a 23-year-old Kagiso-born and bred JobStarter alumni.

“I’ve heard lots of parents [including mine], and teachers complain about my generation being the laziest they’ve ever seen,” he continues.

Meet Thapelo, a JobStarter Alumni who, through JobStarter was placed in a 6-month internship at Vivlia Publishers; one of Africa’s leading publishing houses specialising in educational, children’s, academic and general publications. While interning as a software developer, he is also in the process of completing his Information Technology qualification with the University of South Africa (UNISA).

Thapelo came across Jobstarter through a friend of his who had been contacted by for an opportunity through the platform. He immediately signed on and completed his profile and then got the call from the JobStarter team. At the time, he was unemployed and studying part-time looking to make ends meet. While admitting to being lazy, Thapelo has really applied himself to his role and has been working really hard to do succeed in his role and gain maximum experience.

“The enormity of the work we are doing has not quite sunk in yet. Many people are gonna make a difference in the world because of the software we have developed to make their learning more engaging and relatable. It makes me feel useful,” he contemplates.

Thapelo and his colleagues were tasked to develop an e-learning platform that will be used by schools across South Africa to use simultaneously with their curriculum. The platform allows for user-friendly, engaging, and contextualised examples that can be downloaded in English, isiXhosa, sePedi and isiZulu.

“I remember when I was in high school [Princess High School, Roodepoort], a teacher had asked what we are doing to make the world a better place. I said I pick up papers to reduce the carbon footprint, and everyone laughed. Now I can confidently say I contributed in putting a life-changing project to life,” Thapelo says.

Since starting his first formal job, Thapelo says he has become more goal oriented and even more determined to perfect his craft.

“Every time we say we are done [with the project], I always insist we check one more time. You always have to check one more time.” He admits that working full-time and finding time for his books has been challenging, but he has been pleasantly surprised at his own capabilities and the power of planning ahead.

After the internship at Vivlia, Thapelo says he is looking at formalising an IT innovations business he has started with his friends. He also wants to be the first inventor of a South African low-end car brand.

Thapelo’s Top Advice for Jobseekers:

  1. Get up, see the world, and connect with people. You never know who might have an opportunity waiting for you.
  2. Nobody will make you a priority, you’ve got to start setting targets for yourself.
  3. Use your smartphone to get on platforms like JobStarter instead of wasting data.