What Our Graduates Say About SACAP - Jason Viljoen - SACAP
Alumni Blogs

What our graduates say about SACAP – Jason Viljoen

Aug 29, 2023 | By Venessa Dace
What our graduates say about SACAP - Jason Viljoen
Mobile Curve
Mobile Curve

A quick peek on LinkedIn will tell you that 25-year-old Jason Viljoen has a very impressive resume. For a start, he achieved seven distinctions in matric. Then, during his time at North-West University – where he graduated with his Bachelor of Engineering in Computer and Electronic Engineering – he received the Best Final Year Project award at the end of his studies.

Prime candidate

Jason’s glittering credentials don’t end there. He worked for Sasol in Secunda as a Control Engineer-in-Training and within a year was made Chairman of the Community Development portfolio of the Junior Engineers Forum. Simultaneously, he studied psychology part-time at the University of South Africa and received distinctions in all his modules. Thereafter, Jason began working for SACAP in their Systems department as a software developer.

But wait, there’s more. Jason studied part-time at SACAP and completed his honours in psychology earlier this year. What’s more? He’s been accepted into the Clinical Psychology Masters programme at the University of Johannesburg next year. An incredible achievement – especially considering he’s only 25!

Transformative healing

On paper Jason ‘looks’ intimidatingly smart. I feel nervous and intellectually out of my depth. We have a telephonic interview scheduled. I don’t want to come across as foolish. 

Fortunately, my doubts are completely unfounded. Jason’s warm, unthreatening presence puts me at ease right away. “I want to better the lives of those around me,” he tells me when I ask him what he’s passionate about. “Leaving a positive legacy is what gives my life meaning.”

Jason’s interest in psychology began during his third year at university. “I suffered from severe social anxiety,” he explains. “I was a gay male growing up in a socially conservative environment – I had acquired a lot of baggage as a result. Therapy helped me understand that there was nothing wrong with me; that my way of being in the world is completely valid. It was totally transformative.”

The healing Jason experienced through his therapy sessions sparked his keen interest in psychology. “My brother-in-law is a counselling psychologist, so I’d had some exposure to it. Until I underwent therapy myself, though, I hadn’t fully appreciated its value,” he recalls. “Seeing a psychologist was the best thing I ever did and completely changed the trajectory of my life for the better!”

Paradigm shift

Jason shifted his focus from electronic engineering to psychology. He’d received a bursary from Sasol and had to fulfil his work obligations to the company first. “Personally, I didn’t find working as an engineer very rewarding,” he admits.

Fortuitously he came across a job post advertising a software development position at SACAP. “What an opportunity. It felt like the perfect job!” he exclaims.

Fast forward a couple of years and Jason is about to embark on his next exciting academic adventure: achieving his masters. It’s a gruelling application process, he tells me. A group of 600 candidates is whittled down to 80 people. Then, during a university-based selection week, this group is distilled even further to 40, then 20 and finally just eight students that are ultimately accepted into the programme.

It’s the first time Jason has applied to a master’s programme, and he’s thrilled he’s been accepted. “Some of the other candidates I met have been applying for six or seven years. I am extremely lucky, and I don’t take my good fortune for granted!” he exclaims.

Recipe for success

While hard work and determination undoubtedly played a part, its likely Jason’s pure intention and genuine interest in the growth and wellbeing of others helped clinch his acceptance. His authenticity, too. “I’ve worked through my own trauma, having done a lot of inner work,” he says. “It’s helped me discover who I am and what my strengths and weaknesses are. I think I’m strong enough to hold the necessary space for others as a result.”

“I think it’s this unique ‘applied’ lens that really sets the college apart.”

Jason Viljoen

Jason feels his honours degree from SACAP is also responsible for his success. “The SACAP tuition is top-notch,” he says. “Students are taught to apply theories to themselves and the world around them. Other institutions may expose you to these theories but seldom give you the opportunity to explicitly apply them to the South African context.”

“My course at SACAP changed my worldview,” he continues. “SACAP’s philosophy of practical application has permeated into my being and is very valuable. I think it’s this unique ‘applied’ lens that really sets the college apart.”

Paying it forward

As a SACAP employee, Jason has been exposed to the business side of the company, too. “SACAP really cares about social development and endeavours to give back to the community wherever it can. Academic inspiration aside, being around the people who work here is very motivating from a personal perspective, too,” he adds.

In his own capacity, Jason also strives to give back. His volunteer work at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital has instilled a real love for the hospital environment, he says. “It’s the kind of community I want to serve long term. There are less than 500 clinical psychologists in the public sector in our country. This is alarming, considering the country’s population is above 60 million. I’d like to spend some time in public hospitals and give back where I can.”

So, where does Jason see himself five years from now? “I try not to be too predetermined about my future,” he concedes. “I do think that working in a psychiatric hospital is the dream. However, I remain open to all of life’s opportunities.”

Long-term prospects

Engineer-turned-programmer and soon-to-be-psychologist, Jason is a rare individual whose incredible skillset balances brains with benevolence. His story proves that where there’s passion, there’s possibility. “I want to do something that will leave the world a better place,” he says. “I want to help people become the best versions of themselves.”

How about you? Do you want to help others, too?

SACAP offers accredited post-graduate qualifications that are recognised by other institutions that offer professional master programmes. Consequently, SACAP can help pave your way to becoming a clinical psychologist. Find out more here.

Previous post

Next post

Your form is being submitted.

Thank you for your enquiry