Celebrating youth: Engen’s Cameron Lupke says life will humble you quickly, so be respectful

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“Youth month is an opportunity to highlight and focus on the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.”

This is the view of Cameron Lupke, a passionate Human Resources trainee who grew up in the suburb of Rosehill in Durban and is one of 36 new trainees on the Engen Graduate Development Programme.

He lives by the philosophy: Don’t be afraid to start over.

“I believe it’s important not only to celebrate your achievements but also your failures because it allows us as individuals to conduct some self-introspection into understanding who we are, what we stand for, and what our passions are,” says the Northwood Boys High school alumnus.

Lupke graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2020 with a BCom in Human Resources Management, followed by a post-graduate diploma in Management in 2021.

“I then decided to fulfil a lifelong dream of mine and completed my teaching diploma for Grades 7-9 and FET Phase Teaching for Grades 10-12, which I successfully completed Cum Laude in 2022.”

He started his career at Engen in November last year, working in the Talent Attraction & Development department.

“My journey so far has been exciting and interesting learning the ins and outs of the recruitment process which I have really enjoyed,” reflects Lupke.

The now 24 -year-old urges young South Africans to not let people’s titles at work get to you. 

“Life will humble you quickly, so be respectful to a worker on the ground equally as you are to the CEO.

“If life steers you in another direction, embrace it. It can lead you to opportunities you never knew existed.”

His advice for young South African’s this Youth Month is for them to see rejection as redirection. 

“Never give up and always network; you are your own brand.”

What concerns Lupke is the lack of confidence in young people especially at a primary and high school level.

“Working as a student teacher, I saw how learners who are not top achievers lack the confidence to achieve their goals. 

“I was not an ‘A’ student, nor did I play any first team sports…I only discovered my talents at university while doing my Teaching Diploma.

“I would love to play a part in building up the confidence and self-esteem of our youth so that they can have the confidence to follow their dreams.”

Continuing to attract and grow talented young people like Cameron Lupke demonstrates Engen’s ongoing commitment to developing our countries future experts and leaders. 

Furthermore, as a company that is passionate about progress and seeks to provide opportunities for talented young adults to explore new horizons, Engen’s Graduate Development Programme offers recent graduates, valuable work experience across a broad range of business functions. 

“The aim is to ensure that all participants emerge as highly employable individuals, bolstered by enhanced confidence, workplace experience, and a comprehensive understanding of working in teams,” says Engen Skills Development Manager, Mmalenyalo Galane.

Explains Galane further: “It is Engen’s ultimate reward to help set talented people up to pursue stimulating careers that won’t only benefit them personally, but also their families and the broader economy of South Africa.

“As a company, Engen is firmly committed to building tomorrow’s leaders and if we want to ensure that the youth of tomorrow are prepared for a rapidly changing world, we need to ensure that they have the right mix of skills for them to reach their full potential,” she adds.

In 2022, Engen invested R14.7million in Learnerships and Bursaries, along with a further R33 million in other social causes, such as its flagship CSI, programme, the Engen Maths and Science Schools.

Kicking off 35 years ago, the Engen Maths and Science Schools are central to Engen’s efforts to contribute to the growth and transformation of South Africa.

Engen’s manager of Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement, Dr James Nyawera explains: “EMSS works tirelessly to help transform young underprivileged people’s lives, with a focus of creating a diverse and vibrant workforce.

“Through the programme, supplementary tuition is provided to approximately 1 800 under-privileged Grade 10-12 learners across South Africa every year.”

Engen Maths and Science Schools are based in Cape Town with classes are held at Belgravia and Manzombotho High, Port Elizabeth, East London, Cala and Johannesburg, and in KwaZulu-Natal where classes sit at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Hillview High School and Umlazi Commercial High School.