A Youth Day Shoutout: Meet Vuyo

To commemorate Youth Day, we wanted to highlight one of the amazing Homewood team members, who has been such a testimony to our team of someone who has defined their circumstances, risen to a challenge and embraced every opportunity that has come his way!

Read on to find out all about Vuyo, one of Homewood’s (young) superstars.

We cannot wait to witness his future unfold; we know it’s going to be bright.

Tell us about yourself and your story that led you to Homewood

So firstly, my name is Vuyo and I’m 25 years old. I live in Lidgetton, here in the KZN Midlands, and have lived here for a long time. I went to school at Crystal Springs Primary and then attended Jabula Combined School for High School. After that I studied a diploma in electrical engineering in Pietermaritzburg.

After achieving my diploma, I really struggled to find a permanent job. I jumped from job to job and made music on the side as a part-time hustle. I had a contract job for a while teaching math, physics and life sciences, and when that ended, it was tough.

I remember sitting at home doing nothing; it was tough. I have a lot of siblings that I need to support. I put my CV  together and sent it out there, and thankfully, Homewood was the first place to respond. I joined in April, 2021.

What were some of the challenges you experienced in your new role?

When I started, I knew nothing about wood. The whole time, what kept running through my head was “ oh, you studied electricity. So how are you going to adjust this working place?”

So it was really challenging at the beginning, but I’m a person who likes a challenge. I always have room to learn new things. I started by filling tables with epoxy and checking panels, after that, I think Wes saw some potential. So, he moved me from this section to another section.

Wes gave me a series of tests to write, as a passed them, he moved me to new sections and I ended up in assembly. I knew nothing about operating drills, so it was difficult, but like I said, I like a challenge.

There was one very challenging side table that everyone was struggling to assemble, and Wes put me on it. I think he really called me to specialise in special custom furniture creations.

Have you felt it’s helped your career to have someone like Wes as a mentor?

Yeah, for sure. I mean, you can come to work every day, but if your role is stagnant, there’s no room for growth. If you have someone always trying to push you to do better or to do more, you kind of feel like you’ve got this positive energy, and you think, “No, I can do more!”

Even if your self-esteem was low, you start to learn new ideas and you start to grow as a person.

Can you explain your role now?

Right now, I’m in between assembling doors and drawers. I’m fitting drawers and doors while also assembling. So it’s kind of a mix. I enjoy working on drawers. Every drawer is unique. It’s like a fingerprint. I like the difficult projects, it keep my brain active- that, and jogging! I enjoy playing my role in creating Homewood’s custom furniture.

Do you have any dreams for your time at Homewood? Do you have any new goals now?

I’d love, say, in five years, to be in a more senior position, working on multi-million dollar custom furniture projects; that’s where I see myself. I always need something new to challenge myself. 

How would you describe the feeling among the young people in your community?

I wouldn’t say they feel hopeful because if you walk around, especially around my community, there are many who went to school and finished studying, but at the end of the day, there are no job opportunities.

I feel like in order to get a job, like, around my area, you have to branch out, go to other provinces, which most young people don’t have the privilege of doing. This requires money, transport, and accommodation.

Have Homewood operating on my doorstep means I can go from home to work, and work to home. It’s a win-win, without wasting money on the side.

We need more of this in our communities.

What message of encouragement would you give to a young person in South Africa?

Firstly, stay healthy. Go to school. Even if you don’t find a job after studying, there’s always a chance that you might. Try not to get demotivated.

I think it’s really helpful to have an educational background because you never know when you get a chance to do something.

Secondly, you shouldn’t take a job as a job. It helps to be invested in what you’re doing, you know, in order for you to enjoy it, in order to do better or improve yourself, and even make your employers proud of you. You should always keep this positive mindset.

As long as you approach the job as a job, you’ll never improve yourself because you’ll be waiting for your salary. For me, my salary comes as a bonus.

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