Students graduate from Phakama Women's Academy

Phakama Women's Academy

Twenty-five students, including Melissa Nortje's mentee, Amukelani Hlabano, have graduated from the Phakama Women's Academy Class of 2014.

The Phakama Women's Academy is a CSI initiative, launched by the brand experience agency, VWV. The academy's main objective is to empower young women in the marketing sector by equipping them with the skills they need to rise up in the corporate world.

Phakama Women's Academy

(L-R) Thandi Nkabinde (graduate), Amukelani Hlabano (graduate mentored by First Car Rental's Melissa Nortje), Koo Govender (CEO of VWV) and Ziyanda Mgengo (graduate) at the graduation ceremony.

First Car Rental's Melissa Nortje, Executive Head of Strategy, Development and Marketing, was invited to mentor for the Academy programme earlier this year, joining a group of highly successful women-mentors that included Heather Harington, Human Resources Director at Estee Lauder; Vilashni Vandayar, Marketing Manager at SAB; and Grace del Fava, the Head: Marketing Manager at Sanlam, to name a few.

The successful students selected for 2014's pilot programme were chosen from three tertiary institutions, the University of Johannesburg, the AAA School of Advertising and the Vega School of Brand Leadership.

Phakama means 'to rise' in Zulu, Xhosa and Nguni

Over the past six months, these young women have received one-on-one mentoring and skills training, which included CV development, personal branding and interview techniques, thus developing vital on-the-job skills to empower young women entering the marketing sector workplace.

Koo Govender, CEO of the VWV Group, says empowering through knowledge is at the heart of this industry-first initiative.

Melissa Nortje

(L-R) Amukelani Hlabano and Melissa Nortje at the graduation ceremony

Says Melissa Nortje: "It was an honour to be invited to mentor on this pioneering programme that aims to give talented young women a head start in their careers.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my mentee, Amukelani Hlabano. She is a determined young woman and I look forward to watching her rise up through her career."

To find out more about First Car Rental's CSR projects, please click here.

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