My name is Moegamad Riyaaz Semaar. I am a 24 year old male from Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain. I come from a household of 5 people. Myself, my mom, my younger brother and my grandparents. I was privileged enough to receive a good education through both Primary and High school. I believe I was an average student and somewhat excelled in sports throughout my high school career. Life had its ups and downs but it was met with a lot of perseverance thanks to the amazing support system my family has always provided.

After I matriculated, I applied to study towards a BA degree at UWC. After one year, I made the decision to drop out and I dove into the life of a working man. It’s a decision I regretted for some time but I soon realized that I am on my own journey and studying further will forever be in my plans for the future. My life as an employee before RLabs consisted of jobs in media, coaching and education fields. The last 2 years before joining RLabs, I was employed as a language consultant (online tutor) at TutorABC and Berlitz. My life as an employee was met with many challenges, one being that I was retrenched twice due to the arrival of Covid-19.

I was introduced to RLabs as a high school student when I attended a session at the Youth Café in Rocklands and I immediately fell in love with the culture and atmosphere. 3 years ago I was presented with an opportunity to join one of the programs at RLabs but I chose a job as an online tutor instead. 3 years later, I find myself enrolled into the Skills Accelerator program, an opportunity I am extremely grateful for. I decided to join the program because I strongly feel that I resonate with the culture and ethics here at RLabs. I became obsessed with the digital world and now I have been given an opportunity that will give me a jumpstart and introduction to the very world I have become obsessed with.

Since starting the Skills Accelerator program, there’s been slight changes in my work ethic and mentality. It sounds very cliché, but these changes are due to the experiences I’ve had with RLabs so far. During the program, I have learned so many skills I can one day use to contribute to the digital industry and the people around me. This program truly gives you the keys to make a change. I feel that I am now more knowledgeable when it comes to these things and it has definitely made things easier for me when doing digital work. Aside from trying to teach and explain what I have learned thus far, I do feel that I will be able to make an impact on those around me, especially in my community. 

The culture and work ethic I have developed and still continuing to develop, will be extremely beneficial to my future and whatever it has in store for me. I am blessed enough to be able to learn new skills and lessons every week and every day. I really appreciate the culture meetings we have on a Monday morning with the entire RLabs family, it is really such a great way to start your week. Marlon has highlighted the power of words and as a result, I have seen the effects of this.

When I first joined the program, I didn’t quite understand what I’ll be doing or what I would be learning, but once we kicked off with the first session, I have been tackling every task along with its challenges, head on. Although it might seem like a lot to take in sometimes, I have been enjoying every moment. One thing I always keep in mind is that no matter the challenge, with perseverance and rock solid faith, you can overcome anything, whether it be in the workplace or even at home.

The Skills Accelerator program has been extremely beneficial to me, in many ways. One being that the program has really given me a brand new approach to the digital world as well as the necessary tools to navigate digital platforms. There are other aspects of this program that have also been very beneficial to me, such as the Leadership program. Working within our smaller groups has really given me an opportunity to challenge myself mentally, spiritually and even physically (the hike) and being able to listen to others share their stories has been both enlightening and comforting.

I never once thought that I’d be learning how to make an app and actually doing it. My favorite experiences thus far have been the creation of an app and a landing page website. Something that continues to be the highlight of my week has been the leadership sessions. Working and hiking with our groups and tribes has been such an eye-opening experience and nothing short of a delight. A big thank you to our leads on the Skills Accelerator program and the leadership program. I can’t really call this a lowlight, but keeping track of our zoom meetings is something we have to be hands on with. A big lowlight has been the fact that we can’t see our colleagues as much as we want to due to our current condition with Covid-19. I am still excited for what’s next. 

Moegamad Riyaaz Semaar

One moment I’d like to highlight is one that happened this week. I went into the Vangate office on Tuesday to work with my team on a deliverable we’re busy with. Our task was to complete apps we have already started with and shoot an advert for them too. When it came to shooting the advert, you would swear that we were a directing and film team. Our dedication to getting the perfect story and shot was amazing. We went as far as using a red table as a backdrop as the color was appropriate for the advert and client. This just showed what myself and the team are capable of.

I am truly grateful to be working from home during these turbulent times. It has ensured the safety of not only myself but my family too. I live with my grandparents and they’re more at risk of contracting the virus. My prayers go out to the working force out there that are putting theirs and their family’s lives at risk. This income opportunity has helped myself and my family. It has been a tough year because I am currently the only one working in my household aside from my grandparents receiving their monthly pension. This comes with many challenges but we continue to keep our faith on a high, hopes up and we persevere.

I would like to say to the unemployed youth out there that I have once been in that same situation and there will be days where you feel hopeful and there are days when you will feel like all hope is lost. There is always opportunity around every corner, you just have to keep looking and always remember to keep your head up high, you never know what opportunity may come your way. When an opportunity does come your way, do not ever doubt yourself, if you feel that the challenge is too much for you, you will never know until you try it. I encourage the youth to also get involved in volunteer work because it could be the first step in the right direction for you. I volunteered at Wavecrest Primary school without even asking for a salary and not too long thereafter, an opportunity came my way to join a coaching program in which I was paid for. Very much like RLabs, I was learning and earning. One more thing, if you do have some cash to spend, think about investing in yourself and your future.

I would like to say thank you to RLabs from myself and everyone else impacted. I truly appreciate the abundance of opportunities and will forever be grateful

The Skills Accelerator is a proudly RLabs initiative that is made possible thanks to the support of JPMorgan Chase.

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