A young Johannesburg professional was so determined to find a job, advertised his CV to the streets and it worked.Ayanda Mbatha began his new job as a project engineer at Rhochrematics in Midrand at the beginning of the month.
The 26-year-old was another victim of unemployment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, the qualified mechanical engineer was retrenched, along with many other colleagues, when the manufacturing company he worked for took financial strain as a result of the ban on imports and exports.
But with the support of his family, he decided he wasn’t going to become a statistic. So Mbatha dusted his CV and spent the early mornings sending messages to potential employers on business social media site LinkedIn. However, he realized that spending every day at a busy street corner in Blairgowrie handing out his CV, would up the ante.
“Some of the comments I got were vile, but I don’t mind what people say, as long as I accomplish the goal in the end. Negativity gets you nowhere and positivity gets you everywhere. Covid was what got [my old] company into financial difficulty, we couldn’t sell internationally. I was the youngest and the newest in my department. Retrenchment wasn’t easy but I was one of many people who lost a job at that time,” said Mbatha.
He told his family that he was being retrenched and they acted positively and all said, ‘don’t worry, you’ll get another job’. “They made me get up and want to go out to look for work”, said Mbatha. He is good at marketing himself which he says comes from his fondness of meeting people and travelling to new places. He said his new goal was to help other youngsters find work in the same way he did.
“It became easier to go to the traffic lights, I had the attitude of: I know this economy is straining and people are stressed, but here I am and I know what I want.” And it all paid off. By June he was contacted almost daily, not always by companies who were employed, but because they wanted to meet him and learn more about his drive.
Mbatha’s big break came when a passing motorist took his CV and gave it to Rhochrematics, which happened to have a position available. “I am keen to help other young people do the same, I wish other people could get the same results as me. You must be positive or be nothing” he said.
“I wanted others to drive the conversation around my hunt for work so I specifically did not take photos of myself to put on social media. To potential employers, that may come across as desperate. But instead when the next potential employer drives past they see you have the courage and they can interact with you and get to know your character, then they look at your CV,” he added.
Mbatha said he owed his fighting spirit to his entrepreneur mother Thulisile Ethel Mbatha. “Mom never had a 9-5 job; I got my entrepreneurial skills got from her. She did everything from selling clothes then selling food, she even got into the taxi business. She could sell anything,” said Mbatha.
Singer, Craig Hinds from the band Watershed and local radio veteran Darren Scott who was moved by the young man’s efforts, shared Mbatha’s story on the Mix FM Drive Show. In the Facebook post, Scott wrote: “Thank you to everyone who responded so positively to Ayanda’s story … and Ayanda … for being determined, humble and gracious! It just shows what can be achieved when the odds seemed stacked against you, yet you just swallow your pride, get up and get out there and make it happen!”