Habib Noorbhai

Current Job: 
Lecturer and Researcher at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology; Director at The Humanitarians NPO (voluntary); Presenter of talk show at Deen TV (Openview HD) called Sport and Health with Habib Noorbhai; Biokinetics Expert on Health24 Forum

Previous job(s):

  • Lecturer at the Exercise Teachers Academy
  • Writing Centre Consultant at the University of Cape Town
  • Lecturer at Fit Principles International Academy
  • Sub-warden at the UCT Obz Square Residence
  • Intern Biokineticist at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa
  • Personal Trainer at Planet Fitness
  • Worked with the South Australian Redbacks and Yorkshire CCC cricket teams during the CLT20 Champions Leagues
  • Cricket Coach (self-employed)

How did you obtain your current position?

I have always wanted to be an academic after qualifying and practicing as a Biokineticist. There was a vacancy that opened at CPUT and I applied for the position. I was shortlisted and attended an interview in which I had to also do a presentation. I was notified two weeks after that I was successful. I want to also add that the Careers Services was really helpful in assisting with CV layouts, interview processes and post interview processes. Thank you Athi and Alexis.

In what way do your qualifications relate to your work, whether directly or indirectly?

My qualifications relate directly to the work in terms of research, practice and industry experience. My qualification indirectly relates to the teaching component and community engagement as lecturing skills and community work is acquired through experience.

What are the key skills that have contributed to your success thus far?

I would definitely say its punctuality, organisation, perseverance, drive and proactivity. Most of all, fun and passion. One cannot call it work if you enjoy what you do every day. In addition, maintaining and fostering great relationships with everyone you come into contact with is key.

What are your day-to-day activities?

I lecture students on a day-to-day basis. As an academic, a lot would agree that there is quite a bit of ‘behind the scenes’ work that one does in order to fulfil your duty as a lecturer efficiently. I am also quite active with research aside from my PhD (which is on cricket batting) and this takes up quite a bit of time. In addition, I am supervising a few Masters students for their theses and my NPO team and I are quite involved with community engagement and doing a lot of outreach. The NPO is called The Humanitarians and more information can be obtained from: | @HumanitariansZA

What are the best and most challenging parts of your job?

The best part of the job is the opportunity to teach and engage with students, colleagues and many others in providing them with opportunities to think differently, make a difference in their lives, make learning fun and enjoyable, plant a few seeds and ‘training the trainers’ so to speak. I really enjoy my job as an academic and sports scientist and it is really fulfilling and enriching when you witness the improvement that everyone makes.

The most challenging part I would say is time. But as an academic, you learn to work smart and develop a sense of time management in working more efficiently and having time for others, not just for yourself. Another challenge or added pressure would be the admin that goes with the job. I think in any career, admin is made a part of it but it is important that it’s done meticulously.

How did your extra-curricular involvement while at UCT add value (transferable skills) to what you offer the world of work/your degree?

Being a sub-warden at Obz Square Residence and  being Chairperson of the newly formed Senior Residence Academic Council (SRAC) in 2013 had exposed me to quite a bit of the governance and quality assurance procedures that take place with students in a University context. This is essential as you are then able to familiarise yourself with key attributes of higher education environments. I was also part of selection committees and you are able to gain insights into what committees are looking out for in candidates for various job vacancies. In addition, the experience and skills gained from the UCT Writing Centre as a consultant has assisted both my academic writing and the assistance I provide to my Masters students currently.

One of the key challenges that University graduates are experiencing today is ‘transferable skills’. How do they transition what they have learnt at University into the world of work? How do we as educators peruse a lot of content learning and promote more practical and applied teaching that will assist graduates one day. This is planting the seed and/or directing the horse to the water. The degree you receive is paper but it is what you make of it, which is key.

To what extent did you make use of the Careers Service while you were at university?

The Careers Service was really effective in assisting me with CV and Cover Letter layout (especially what is expected of academics), interview processes and communication with prospective employers. I highly recommend them!

How best should students use their time at university to give themselves a competitive edge in your field?

I have been privileged to be a University student for more than seven years at three different Universities and I am confident to suggest that both undergraduate and postgraduate students should make the most of their time at University. Peers/friends will come and go but your education, skills and experience you gain will always stick with you. Use this precious time at UCT or anywhere else to not only better yourself but to also improve the lives of others. You will always get a chance on an off-day or weekend to socialise, play sport and/or spend time at the canteen or alternative coffee shop. Time is precious and a gift, so use it wisely and for the correct purposes.

In retrospect, what advice can you give to students about how to approach their own career development journeys?

Don’t chase after wealth else you will keep on chasing it. Rather, chase after HER (not the girls, boys!): health, education and relationships. If you do this, opportunities and success will come your way.

Do you have any advice for a new graduate entering the world of work?

Learn as much as you can in your earlier years of the world of work. Make as many mistakes as you can (not fatal) but learn from those mistakes and don’t do it again. Humility and integrity go a long way. Credibility is everything. Enjoy what you do. People will want you to do well but not better than them, remember than that. Celebrate your colleagues, friends and families’ achievements and successes sincerely. Life is too short and we need to use our time in this world in making a difference and positively changing people’s lives.