Images: © Mr Price Foundation / Pierre Tostee

Congratulations to our 11 exceptional JumpStart Professional Retail Programme (PRP) graduates for 2022! They had a whirlwind year filled with ups and downs and they persevered right to the end. The graduates were honoured in front of the proud JumpStart team and faculty as well as our valued JumpStart partners, at a joyful celebration at Fairway Guest House in Durban North on 1 December.

The PRP class of 2022 accepted their certificates in high spirits, after an intense year of training where they were fully immersed in the retail and manufacturing value chains. The top three students were also honoured in recognition of their hard work and determination to succeed. Acsah Pietersen was top of the class, winning the “Cutting Edge” award, while Gcina Tivane won “Best Fit” and Fezeka Dubazana bagged the “Hanging in There” award. 

“It was a very challenging year but when you know what you are looking for, then you know it’s worth fighting for,” said Best Fit winner Gcina. 

“The PRP was exceptional. I have more than five years’ experience in retail. Now I am getting to understand the manufacturing side of retail – to understand the product and see the whole value chain of retail,” said Gcina. 

Top three students Acsah Pietersen, Fezeka Dubazana and Gcina Tivane.  ©  Mr Price Foundation / Pierre Tostee

The PRP programme is designed by retailers to give students an opportunity to experience the overall retail value chain and to equip them for junior positions in buying, planning and store management.  

Speaking at the graduation, head of Mr Price Foundation Karen Wells said: “The PRP has changed each and every one of these graduates as they now start to think differently. I hope we have inspired them. I hope we have enriched them and definitely challenged them. This programme is a pressure cooker. It shows the realities that exist in the retail value chain, and at the same time shows the opportunities that exist.” 

The students completed real-world work experience at suppliers and manufacturers, including working for a month in a factory and working long hours in a retail store.

“All these experiences are going to make you better in your career in this retail value chain. We all want to see South Africa’s retail and manufacturing sectors grow and these graduates are going to be part of that journey,” said Karen. 

Dr Liziwe Masoga, Mr Price Group chief people officer, urged the grads to dream big – and then bigger.

PRP graduate Zamokuhle Mkhonza said that being part of the programme gave her an opportunity to wake up every day with purpose.

“It really shaped me and who I am going to be in the future. Going through (work experience) at Mr Price taught us to mingle with people from different backgrounds and with different personalities. There were many times where I wanted to scream and cry and run out. But at every single division and every single place that we were placed in, they really made us feel like we were part of the family,” said Zamokuhle.

Guest speaker Dr Liziwe Masoga, Mr Price Group chief people officer, said the PRP played an important role in a country where there were not equal opportunities for everyone.  

“We live in a country where even a matric certificate and a degree does not guarantee you a job. Research has found that if you take a young, unemployed person and give them a job for 12 months, whether it is a learnership or internship, there is an 80% chance of that person staying in full-time employment after that. This is the opportunity that we are creating here. It is just that foot in the door so that you are able to then meet your dreams, your ambitions and be the blessing you are meant to be for your family,” said Liziwe. 

We are so proud of the accomplishments and tenacity of our graduates, and have no doubt that their learnings this year will help them shine in their careers in the retail value chain. 

“This is just the beginning. Take the time to soak in what this means and know that you are stepping into a future that is as big as you are willing to imagine. Do not let anybody minimise your dreams. It does not matter how big you think your dream is now. It can be even bigger,” said Liziwe. 

Read more on the PRP