I describe myself as open and extroverted. I’ve always been confident. When I first started here though, I was quiet in the corner. We all were. But then I began talking to the other learners, getting to know them, opening up to them about my own life. Now I have made connections here, who have become good friends for years.

Tara van der Merwe has been part of DYNA Training’s Disability Learnerships for four years and is about to complete her NQF Level 6 qualification in Data Analysis. She has a passion for computers – “it’s my thing”, she says – and would prefer to stay far away from writing.

Although, computer-based work is not the only area of expertise for Tara. Having previously studied and worked in Educare, and being an active carer in her own and extended family, it comes as no surprise that she is passionate about people too. With two young children at home, nieces, and nephews, and even brothers who need some guidance, it is evident in even a brief conversation with Tara that she is well versed in giving care, compassion, support, and encouragement. And more than that, as an extrovert, she loves it. Talking to people is also her “thing”.

Tara’s family was sceptical at first about her starting a learnership with DYNA Training all those years ago. At that stage, her condition was unstable and unpredictable, and traveling to the venues was therefore a risk. But Tara was determined and began her first learnership in Generic Management in 2019. Throughout her time with DYNA, Tara has experienced a relaxing environment, with trainers who are open and communicative, and devoted to teaching well. “The trainers, Jerome and Ryan, make things exciting and enjoyable to learn, and they make sure that you understand what you are doing. You could ask questions over and over and they would help you until you understood”, explains Tara.

Support is not limited to the content of the learnerships. The open and familiar environment meant that the learners feel comfortable sharing personal struggles, with Colin, their learnership manager, and with the trainers. It has become a space to share and receive advice, and a space to grow individually with the support of a community.

For Tara, such growth has come in many forms, with one being the ability to handle emotions better: “It has changed me, I used to feel a lot of anger and frustration. Now I have become more adaptable and can just go with the flow”.

Now with a well-stocked CV, and a diverse range of work, team, and life skills, Tara feels excited to face the working world, with its “new environment, new people, and new problems to solve”.