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"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher



A life changing experience!

It is always a challenging task to put a life changing event in black and white because more often than not, our emotions tend to get the better of us. Nevertheless, the following discussion will be kissed (keep it short and sweet) with some brief highlights of our (2 final year students from Fort Hare University) amazing experiences during the NoobSwitch week held in Robertson, Western Cape from the 30th November to the 04th December 2015.

Mhh sounds interesting…but wait, what is Noobswitch?

Noobswitch is a company or an organization acting as a platform that seeks to bridge the gaps in career development and serves as a networking vessel for ambitious individuals. It is centred on three main principles (i.e. connect, educate and empower).The founders are passionate about education, agriculture and people, and use a looping skill-enhancement-approach to ensure educational excellence. NoobSwitch strives to energise the agricultural industry by building networks through education, collaboration and consultation. This is achieved by shaping careers whilst boosting agricultural development throughout Africa. Not only that, but noobswitch helps transfer skills from experts in agriculture and businesses to graduates and employees.

Let’s get the ball rolling already…


What better way to kick start the day than to have a massive scrumptious breakfast which will help break the ice as different personalities mingled together for the first time.

Right from day one we took off at a very high note. An eye opening session presented  by Paul Bevan “the road”  soon took place .This was after the students (Siphokazi Nyeleka & Mzuvukile Mcayiya, University of fort Hare), (Nomsa Lubisi as well as JW van Niekerk from University of Pretoria) had their breakfast. In his talk, Paul gave us a clear overview of the industry, highlighting how the industry we are about to enter as young professionals looks like. We saw where one is likely to start and end their career. We also did the strength finder test which allowed us to know our strengths better  such as “learner, achiever, strategic thinker” and how best to harness our raw talents  thus using them optimally when necessary with ultimate aim of achieving our goals both individually and in a working environment.

Erich Muller, a marketing account manager shared with us mind blowing insights on the world of marketing on what he regarded as image excellence. He emphasized “If you can’t sell yourself, you can’t sell anything”. He then went on to tell us about “The power of 13” where he eluded on how these 13 rules can be used to make one   efficient in marketing. Eric also shared his experiences of working with high profile celebrities such as the likes of Dj Sbu and big brands such as Liquifruit. This truly was a remarkable moment for us.

From a more light talk it got real with Werne Kritzinger taking us through goal setting. Werne made this a very exciting experience because he was able to break it down to steps that were very easy to understand and follow. All of a sudden it became a process that is not only necessary to do in life but also one that can be done effortlessly when following his simple, real and practical steps. He obviously could not finish his talk without mentioning the down side of failing to follow through with your goals. “Your current reality, if you don’t do anything about it will in most cases turn into your worst desired future”.

We were astound by the leadership talk presented by Kobus Visagie. In his talk, a lot of emphasis was centred on the late Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela’s values and principles, highlighting that when going into the industry understanding and embracing diversity is pivotal in creating an environment of peace and unity.

The day ended on a high note as we were introduced to the world of sales by Nelani Roux, a product manager for Probiotics at Probifloraand, Richardt Venter, and also the incredible world of media by Robyn. These experts shared very interesting facts to the young animal scientists (us ofcourse) who knew very little about the impact of these spheres in our careers. Richardt, the marketing and silage genius (because he is so good at what he does) then took it to the next level by sharing with us his years of invaluable experience with the emphasis on “adding value “to farmers lives. A genius indeed.

What better way to end the day than over a braai where people get to interact and learn about their different cultures after a long day?

Once again the day began with the most important meal of the day

The “strength finder” talks continued with Paul Bevan. He explained how dangerous the strengths can be if not managed properly. For example, we learnt that some of us are activators (the action seekers) while some of us are strategic (the thinkers) in our manner of doing things. Paul explained that activators like Sipokazi are the “ready, fire aim” kind of people while strategist like Mzuvukile are the “ready aim, aim, aim…and then shoot” people. This indeed was a very extraordinary experience for us as we got a deeper understanding of why we do things in certain ways and how improvements can be done moving forward.

The day then got more interesting when Wiehan Visagie (The feed formulation genius) taught about the current modern ways of feed formulations practised in commercial farms. He shed some light on the AMTS feed formulation system totally different from TMR system. We got to understand the convenience as well as benefits of the software. This was really AWESOME!

Day two got even better when we visited Peter’s farm to get an understanding of how a commercial farm operates and also see the practical benefits of AMTS.

The underlying lesson of the day apart from seeing how the AMTS operated was to give the us a feel of what it’s like to be a technical advisor and a sales person to the farmers.

The day took a “GEEKISH” turn as Rainer Basson (The amazing Geek) introduced a technological way of keeping up with the current demands of business and in the process showed a lot of interesting stuff. A medium to create all the relevant portfolios and network with the professionals in the businesses was done was learnt during this session. What a thrill it was!!


Its day three and the week keeps getting better, while we wait with anticipation to hear what the experts have in store for us. Today we tackle Business in Africa as well as innovative ways to

Sustainable food production.
Brain, the CEO of Kemin told us about African market drivers and the diversity of African countries that influence the markets. There is great potential for young and upcoming animal scientists like us. It is possible to be innovative and original in Africa thus bringing out the precious rubies of our continent. The topic of corruption was also discussed and we learnt that it’s possible to be ethical when doing business in our continent.

Willie, the founder of Multimin showed us that we can defy the odds if we believe in ourselves and work together to bring the change we want to see. Today Multimin is an international brand because they believed it would and made it work. Lastly but definitely not least Prof Millet showed us the possibilities of innovative research to sustain food supply in Africa, It was an amazing and absolutely mind blowing session.


Today was a bit serious formal interviews with HR reps. I must say the strength finder exercise came in very handy because we were able to answer  questions about ourselves  based on our strengths which made us very relaxed during the interview

Sales and marketing also continued today and we must say it keeps getting better. Finances and investment portfolios were also part of the package, Andre du Toit was absolutely mind blowing as he explained how our finances will take care of us if we take care of them.

We close of this day on a more social note as we discuss our personal values with Trudy,who helped us realize that we are all different but we can learn to work with other people.


Unfortunately all good things come to an end. This day started on a high note with everyone looking elegant.

Today we presented based on what we learned during the week. How do we summarize an amazing week of expect advise to just one presentation.

This was rather a very exciting time for the week. Most importantly was the fact that each student was given immediate feedback on their slides, their presentation skills and advice for improvement and this truly was helpful for the students.

After the presentations, Lourens de Wet from Nutrition hub gave a talk on companion nutrition. Lourence introduced us to a different world of animal science once again proving we work for the edification and satisfaction of the people around us.

For me Mzuvukile Mcayiya the workshop was a “A complete turnover and an irreversible transformation for inevitable greatness” ” as for me  Sipokazi Nyeleka I walked out of the workshop challenged to do” Exploits “ that will change the world.

WAY TO GO NoobSwitch!!!

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