How CotlandsIgnite™ changed Hlengiwe’s life

We spoke with one of our CotlandsIgnite™ learners this month. Hlengiwe Mahlaba is a Cotlander and works in our Johannesburg Toy Library. As a former teacher herself, she was very eager to be part of the CotlandsIgnite™ programme. She has now completed the accredited ECD Level 4 Occupational certificate, as well as our New Venture Creation qualification. We chatted to Hlengi about her reasons for joining CotlandsIgnite™, her learning experience, and what she’s gained from the course.

What attracted you to become a teacher?

As a child, I always wanted to be a teacher. I would play fantasy after school with my friends, where I was the teacher and they were the students. After finishing high school, I also thought of joining the army, but I love working with kids. I took my brother to a preschool and the principal saw my potential and offered me a job. I saw that I enjoyed working with kids and planning activities, even though I didn’t have the knowledge I have now.

Now that you have completed the course, how has it helped you?

I learnt a lot. I can use a laptop with confidence. I was scared of computers before, but now I can type, and send emails and I can speak with confidence about topics like business plans. I was shy in front of other people, but the mentors encouraged us to speak up and have self-confidence. Now I train other people, sometimes groups of 30 for a whole day.


Tell us about the modules you studied in New Venture Creation?

We studied Business Planning, Marketing, Production, Project Management, and a few others. 

Tell us about a typical day as a CotlandsIgnite™ learner?

It was challenging to manage my time, but I did my coursework after knocking off work. The CotlandsIgnite™ team tracked whether I had read the module and completed the coursework online.

Would you recommend CotlandsIgnite™ to others?

Yes, they will learn how to run an ECD centre and how to market it. ECD Level 4 is based on the classroom, but New Venture Creation teaches how to start a business and market to the community. When you combine ECD Level 4 and NVC – it’s a bomb!

If you are interested in sponsoring a learner like Hlengi, please click here.