Gwen’s story: education is inspiration

So many things motivate us, here at GIFS.  We genuinely believe that we can build a better Africa through education; we are inspired by the resilience and tenacity of our country’s people; and we are driven by the passion of young South Africans to make a difference.

One of the most rewarding things, is witnessing how learning and development transform the lives of our graduates. It’s these feel-good stories that propel us to do more, tear down barriers, find or create more opportunities, redefine rules and invent new ones.

We recently heard back from Gwen Papo, a young go-getter from Gauteng whose life changed in November 2019. The 26-year old was among 30 aspirant youth selected for the Legends in Training Programme (LIT2019). This skills development initiative, spearheaded by GIFS and Constantia Insurance, re-energised the insurance industry by embracing and empowering new, passionate young talent. GIFS designed an accredited Short-Term Insurance qualification so Gwen and the other learners could enter the industry armed with the relevant skills, competencies, and qualification.A year ago, Gwen Papo was a young man with big dreams. Today, the Vosloorus resident has a full-time job in Sales and New Business at Tshepo Hope Funeral Services. He is also planning to do his PhD in Short-Term Insurance!

Looking back, he says, “The (Short-Term Insurance) programme was challenging but an eye-opener. I am a whole new, different person now. I feel like a million bucks! I’m happy that I didn’t quit when it was tough.”
Learning to embrace challenges, remaining committed to the work on hand, and making a few sacrifices to reach his goal, were some of the invaluable life – and corporate – lessons Gwen learned along the way
“The pressure was on another level, but I ended up enjoying it. Not only did I get my certificate but also the experience in the field was amazing. I benefitted a lot of insight on a number of corporate issues.”
His advice to other young people is to always remain upbeat and always work hard towards your goals. “My motto is simple really: NEVER let negativity
infiltrate your spirit. What I mean is that you shouldn’t give up on your dreams. Always have a positive outlook on life and everything will work out for the best.”

We are always deeply moved by real-life success stories like Gwen’s. They speak to Nelson Mandela’s wisdom (that powers everything we do): “Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world.”

Click here to read more about the impact of LIT2019 on our country’s youth.

19 November 2020