Alumnus profile: Waseem Carrim

Posted on March 09, 2020

Passionate about the opportunities South Africa’s youth hold for this country, Waseem Carrim would love to see Government and the Presidency achieve its National Development Plan 2030 goals. Read more about his career, achievements and crucial role as CEO of the National Youth Development Agency.
 
Q: What is your current position and what does it entail?
 
A: I am the Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), a government structure located in the Presidency. We design policy and programs to respond to youth challenges in South Africa and lobby and advocate for the mainstreaming of youth development.
 
Q: Briefly summarise your career since graduating from UP, with special mention of specific
highlights/milestones.
 
A: I began as an academic trainee in the Department of Accounting, which really helped to develop my research and public speaking skills – my first full time job really pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I completed my article traineeship with KPMG and then became a manager in KPMG’s Department of Professional Practice specialising in the public sector.
 
I was recruited to become the Chief Financial Officer of the NYDA at age 26, making me one of the youngest CFOs in the public sector. Under my leadership the NYDA achieved three consecutive clean audits from the Auditor General and I was named as one of South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ 35 under 35 chartered accountants in 2016. In 2017, I was appointed as the CEO of the NYDA and have driven a culture change at the Agency and together with the Presidency designed the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention.
 
Q: To what extent did your studies at UP benefit you in your career and contributed to your success?
 
A: UP provided a platform for me to learn and develop as a person. The entire environment – students, lecturers and curriculum – provide a framework which not only supports you; it also challenges you beyond your boundaries. Besides your academics, you are exposed to personal development through networking and debate about the critical issues that face our country and that helped shape me as a business leader. Furthermore, being part of the Muslim Students Association, an affiliate of the Progressive Youth Alliance, allowed me to participate in student politics, an important facet of campus life.
 
Q: Given your academic experience at UP, what advice can you pass on to current students?
 
A: South Africa faces many complex challenges. You are so privileged to be part of a University which is contributing towards the betterment of society through education. Chase success and do not fear failure. When you make it, pull someone up with you. Our lives become so much richer when someone else has a shot at opportunity. Strive for that big, optimistic vision for South Africa that we inherited.
 
Q: What, in your opinion, is the foundation of a successful organisation?
 
A: Trust amongst people and innovation.
 
Q: Which business/trade related publications (magazines/newspapers/blogs, etc.) do you enjoy reading?
 
A: The Guardian in the UK and the New York Times from the US.
 
Q: What really inspires and motivates you personally?
 
A: I see many young people who have the energy and willingness to want to change their lives but they lack opportunities. Opportunity changes everything. I fight everyday for those young people.
 
Q: If you could have a face-to-face meeting with an inspiring person in any domain who sets an example in transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same, who would it be and what would you like to discuss?
 
A: Thomas Picketty, the French economist who has done ground-breaking work on inequality. I would like to discuss a new form of capitalism that continues to reduce poverty but helps to solve our inequality quagmire.
 
Q: Going forward, what are your career and personal goals?
 
A: I want to continue to dedicate my efforts towards helping Government and the Presidency achieve our National Development Plan 2030 goals. After that, I would like to return to academia, volunteer and consult. I would like to raise my children with the belief that they are born in the most incredible place and to give them the freedom to chase their dreams while supporting them through life’s challenges. And, also bring my golf handicap down.
- Author Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Published by Liesl Oosthuizen

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