Student Spotlight: Joey Klerk Overcomes a Career Setback With Simplilearn

Student Spotlight: Joey Klerk Overcomes a Career Setback With Simplilearn

Ronita Nath

Last updated March 29, 2018


Many professionals have the desire to learn new skills and move up the career ladder, but the education required isn’t always offered in an effective way. Joey De Klerk discovered this the hard way when she first set out to pass the PRINCE2 exam. That experience ended poorly and shook her confidence, delaying her career advancement. Later, however, she discovered that Simplilearn’s online training offered a better approach that could enable her to master the material, pass the exams to earn the certifications and keep moving on up that career ladder. 

Getting Started in Project Management

Joey De Klerk lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is married with two children, and passionate about project management, even if she didn’t start out in that field. She stumbled into it, realized she was good at it and set her sights on advancing her career in project management by constantly learning.

Joey was unable to earn a university degree while she was younger, owing to a lack of money to do so. She started out in the catering industry and later earned her Hotel Management Diploma, specializing as an executive chef. In 2001, her career took a sharp turn when she was offered a position in the construction industry as a project administrator, administering construction projects with a focus on budgets. It was this job that made De Klerk realize that she had a passion for project management. She has pursued that passion ever since.

In 2002, Joey De Klerk earned her Project Management Fundamentals Diploma, followed by her Advanced Project Management Diploma just two years later. In 2006, she transitioned from the construction industry into IT, still working as a project manager. 

Taking Her Project Management Career Into Her Own Hands

In 2011, Joey De Klerk’s employer signed her up for a week-long PRINCE2 preparation course with the Practitioner exam on the last day. It was a bad experience. “I found the lecturer quite abrupt when I asked for clarity on certain items as I had never heard of PRINCE2,” she says. In addition, she found the course material difficult to work through, “especially when you have attended class the whole day and are tired.” She also ran out of time during the exam and failed it.

“This shook my confidence and I was forced to pay the company the full costs for the week’s course and exam,” she says. That was a real setback to her continuing education in project management. “Due to this bad experience and the fact that I could not afford to lose any more money, I was too scared to write the exam again. It took me two years before I investigated writing the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam again.”

And when she did, it was with the help of Simplilearn. “In 2013, I was introduced to a lecturer at My Skills, an authorized training provider, and he suggested I enroll for the Simplilearn PRINCE2 training through him and work through it at my own pace,” she explains. “He suggested that I book the weekend exam preparation course only after I’d completed the course, attempted the sample exam papers a few times and felt I was ready for the exam.”

The plan worked, as did the Simplilearn course content. “I enrolled for the weekend exam preparation course in November 2013,” says Joey. 

The Simplilearn Approach Ensured Mastery of Content

Joey De Klerk has many reasons to recommend Simplilearn to others, beyond her success with the exam. “The course material is comprehensive and it explains the concepts, removing any confusion that the international manuals sometimes have,” she says. “In addition, I liked the fact that the material was aligned to the actual course manual and provided references to the sections in the manual. That allowed me to use the manual together with Simplilearn’s online learning material during my studying.”

“I especially like the sample exam papers with the rationale behind the correct answers and incorrect answers,” she continues. “I use the sample exam papers as a gauge to assess whether I am ready to write the exams. I can complete the sample exam papers many times to obtain experience on the types of exam questions that will be used during the actual exam. The answer rationale is also used as a tool to build my long-term memory.” In addition, Joey likes that the Simplilearn courses are timed “to teach you to work under pressure and ensure you finished the exam on time.”

As someone who has had to pay for her own training, Joey appreciates the pricing as well. “This is a cost-effective way to study at your own pace,” she says. 

Certifications Lead to Career Advancement

Passing the PRINCE2 exam gave Joey’s career a decided boost. “This opened many doors for me,” she says of passing the exam.

Joey did not stop at PRINCE2, however, but has continued learning. “While at the bank, I paid to complete the Agile (DSDM) certification in 2015 as the bank was transitioning to Agile as a project management methodology.” Currently, she is busy with the PMP and CAPM Simplilearn Courses using the PMBOK manual as an additional study tool, and she has completed the Software Estimation and Simplilearn's Introduction to Project Management eLearning courses, as well. 

Joey knows her project management certifications are critical to her career success. “I understand the need to constantly learn and obtain certifications that will assist me in getting better positions and to create a knowledgeable base,” says Joey. “This is even more relevant for me as I don’t have a university degree to fall back on. I also understand that this is very important as I am a woman who is working in IT (a male-dominated industry). I invest in my future to ensure that I can hold my own in project meetings because knowledge is power.”

Practical Education That Generates Results

The knowledge gained through her certifications is put to work every day. Joey De Klerk’s current job title is Project Manager FNB Business CII Project Delivery. In her job, she receives a PID (Project Initiation Document) from the business side and then does a technical unpacking to assess the impact to her area and all areas they interact with. “The project focuses on the business component on the project from the concept to the technical implementation and production support once the project goes live.”

The Simplilearn PRINCE2 and Agile training helps Joey with various aspects of her job, including continued business justification to “ensure we don’t waste time and money on an initiative that is no longer required”; learning from experience “to prevent us repeating the same mistakes by documenting our lessons in a Lessons Learnt Log”; managing by exception to “try to resolve issues at a project management and team level before escalating to a steering committee or higher management”; a focus on products instead of project tasks, which Joey says works very well in running an Agile project by focusing on features for earlier releases; and project themes relating to risk, change, quality and business case to include in internal methodology. “This ensures we complete our risk and change logs correctly and manage risk, quality, and changes appropriately against the approved business case to realize benefits,” she explains. 

Joey couldn’t earn a university degree when younger, but she hasn’t let that prevent her from embarking on a successful and satisfying career in project management. Instead, she takes matters into her own hands, relying on Simplilearn’s cost-effective and thorough training to help her learn new content, pass exams and prove herself as a project management specialist who stays current on the latest methodologies…something a college degree can’t do. Are you a Simplilearn student with a similar success story? Tell us about your journey to success in the comments section below.

About the Author

Ronita is a food and social media enthusiast who is in personal touch with hundreds of food influencers around the world. She loves to travel to less known destinations to recharge herself. This section provides access to all the insightful resources that Ronita, Content Manager at Simplilearn, has contributed to our audience.


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