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Melanie Van Vreden
Melanie Van Vreden

Melanie Van Vreden is co-owner and MD of recruitment company Abantu Staffing Solutions, with offices in East London and Gqeberha.

She was born in East London and schooled at Hudson Park High.

“The company started in February 2006 and I became the MD in 2018. I work closely with my business partner Tracy Sumner.

"We share over 28 years of recruitment experience and she runs our extremely successful operation in Gqeberha. 

"The automotive sector is strong in both cities and we capitalise on that strength. It took a few years but now we are extremely busy.

“In 2011 I won the Business Women’s Association regional award for the Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year.

"We have come a long way since then. Our team is bigger and we are now operating in the national space, something technology has allowed.”

Covid-19 forced changes on the business but, as Van Vreden describes it, what was a jolt to Abantu became a blessing. 

“In 2019 we already had a client who was using Zoom so we had to learn quickly. Then we had to get up to speed with other platforms. Our clients were interviewing applicants virtually.

“Today many interviews happen virtually, allowing applicants to be interviewed in their own homes and some of our consultants to operate from home.”

The Eastern Cape has four major sectors: automotive, fast-moving consumer goods, healthcare and government.

“The automotive industry has been heavily weighted on the technical side and that is likely to continue," she said.

"But IT is growing fast in all sectors.”

Technology has allowed IT and accountants, who are globally in demand,  to operate from anywhere that pleases them.

“Loadshedding and connectivity challenges are a problem. But, once both are sorted out, East London could become a very desirable place to live and work while earning pounds and dollars in the process.

"And more and more people are doing it.”

“People ask 'where does success lie?'

"For Abantu it's about passion for people, service to clients and growth within the Eastern Cape."



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