A group of girls got a close-up look at the public development environment and the opportunities it offers when they paid a visit to the offices of Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) in Newtown on Thursday, 2 July.

JDA Marketing and Communications Officer Nomalizo XabanaJDA Marketing and Communications Officer Nomalizo Xabana briefs the JDA’s visitors on the agency’s role in the city’s development.The six girls, aged between 15 years and 19 years, spent the day getting a first-hand experience of how the agency functions and the kind of projects in undertakes in the city.

Some of the girls were from Parktown Girls High School, others from St Martin De Porres High School in Orlando West.

They were welcomed by JDA’s marketing and communications officer, Nomalizo Xabana, who explained to them the role the agency plays in Joburg’s growth and development, before taking them on a guided tour of the workplace.

Xabana said the aim of the initiative was expose girls to a working environment and give them practical advice on the kinds of careers that were open to them.

“The real life exposure gives them a far better idea of what is expected of them when they leave school and enter the working world,” Xabana said. “We want to encourage the girls to have a vision and find ways to make their dreams happen.”

The girls get to grips with a brainstorming sessionThe girls get to grips with a brainstorming session in the one of the JDA’s briefing rooms.The learners visited various departments where they chatted with members of staff and quizzed them about their work, what this involved on a day-to-day basis, and the kinds of skills they would need if they wanted to follow in their footsteps.

Nineteen-year-old Busisiwe Nkwanyana, who completed matric last year and decided to take a gap year before settling down to further studies, described her visit as an eye-opening experience.

“I really enjoyed the experience and now have a different perspective of working in an office,” Busisiwe said. “Previously, I thought working in an office was boring and too restricting, but now I am thinking of reconsidering my career choices.”

Lilly Shezi, an aspiring actress in grade nine at Parktown Girls High, said she had enjoyed sharing in the work experiences of the JDA’s staff, and hearing about the journeys that had brought them to where they were.

“I really loved listening to their real-life experiences, which made me realise that there are plenty of opportunities out there.”