23 Jun Youth Development: New Age Engineering Solutions welcomes 2022 Interns￼
South Africa’s unemployment rate continues to be bleak, and even for graduates it can be difficult to get a foot in the door. Opportunities for companies to absorb graduates are scarce, and many skilled young people find themselves blocked from entering the world of work in their chosen field. Our focus on empowering the youth of South Africa and playing our part in reducing the unemployment rate remains an ongoing commitment at New Age Engineering Solutions. This year, we have recruited 93 trainees as part of our Internship, Upskilling and Workplace (IUW) programme representing the following trades:
- Mechanical Fitter
- Mechanical Engineer
- Safety Officer
- Quality Control
- Pipe Fitter
Over the years, this programme has empowered many young graduates by introducing them to the practical side of what they learned in their studies. The graduates will receive training from the best of the best in the SMIEP sector.
“This year we increased the graduate intake because every year there are more people who are without jobs and New Age has a duty to expose graduates to the workplace environment,” says Joseph Zinyana, CEO of New Age.
Some of the trainees that are situated in Secunda are currently being prepared for various roles for the Sasol Secunda Shutdown, which will commence in August 2022.
This week, we sat with two interns to understand their journey and experience so far at New Age Engineering Solutions.
Noluthando Ngubane, a welder trainee who initially wanted to become an accountant but got bitten by the technical bug, recently joined the New Age team and can’t wait to gain knowledge and expand her skills.
She dropped out of the University of Johannesburg to pursue her studies in welding.
“At first I found it [welding] to be hard; I did not even believe that I will make it but my supervisor inspired me to fall in love with the profession and that everything will flow from there.”
Like many interns, her journey has not been straightforward. As she had only studied commerce subjects at high school, she didn’t take science subjects. “I only had Maths when I left the University of Johannesburg, and I had to do a National vocational certificate first as I did not have physical science. But I was determined to complete my studies and I pushed hard and completed them.”
Of her time at New Age, Noluthando said she has experienced welding differently. “I know people think that welders only weld gates; they don’t know that it is more than that, it needs passion, skill and focus.”
As a woman in the male-dominated metal industry, Noluthando has been faced with challenges, including others’ assumptions about her capabilities… “It starts at school, some work you are not entrusted with because you are woman,” she said.
Noluthando hopes to work hard and reach her long-term goal to become a welding inspector. She is looking to obtain as much experience as she can at New Age.
Just like Noluthando, Mechanical Fitter intern Sibongile Dube is also looking forward to gaining a broad experience at New Age. Sibongile became a trainee at New Age at the height of unemployment in South Africa. “It was a very stressful time in my life – not working as a young person is stressful and depressing; I’m going to use this opportunity to learn as much as I can.”
Sibongile has also had to deal with the need to prove herself as a woman in a role historically filled by men, and she has realized that one needs a thick skin to survive. “You really need to be tough and be willing to work hard if you want to learn,” she said, “because the mechanical scope is very broad.”
The opportunity from New Age came at the right time for her, as she was on the verge of giving up due to her struggle with unemployment. “I must say, I was at the right place at the right time, so I’m going to work hard so that I can gain a lot knowledge from my internship, and use the opportunity to develop my skills,” she said.
We look forward to following the growth and progress of these young women in the company as they embark on their career journeys.