03 Aug New Age Engineering Solutions kicks off SHEQ Trainee Programme
Our company is growing, and we are creating more opportunities for young graduates. This year we welcomed our first group of Safety Officer trainees at New Age Engineering Solutions (NAES).
“Over the years we’ve had safety assistants that have shown interest in the wellbeing and safety of other employees, this encouraged us to grow the safety team and offer opportunities for young people to learn from our employees that have experience in health and safety in the workplace,” says Joseph Zinyana, CEO NAES. Zinyana added that the opportunities were also sparked by the need to create more jobs, “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.”
The 12-month programme is funded by NAES and during this period trainees will receive theory lessons and on-the-job training. Our Safety Officer trainees, Petronella Mbedzi, Jabulani Nkosi, Nokwanda Mahlangu and Zodwa Gulube will be stationed at our Evander workshop and Sasol Secunda. Their work scope includes identifying hazards and risks in the workplace, listening to and investigating OHS-related complaints from employees, and making OHS-related recommendations to Senior Management or Safety officers.
Witness Rikhotso, NAES SHEQ Director says: “My expectation from the safety trainees is for them to be able to demonstrate strong and active leadership. At the end of this programme, they must have the ability to engage with the workforce in promoting safe and healthy working conditions and manage health and safety risks associated with our scope of work”.
One of the trainees, Mbedzi excitedly said that she was grateful to be a part of the training programme as at one point it seemed like she wasn’t going to be able to study further and secure employment because of hurdles along the way. Mbedzi took a gap year after completing Matric and a year later, she enrolled in university to study Business Management. Unfortunately, like many young South Africans, she had to drop out of university due to the lack of funds until she got an opportunity to study further.
“I researched about careers that are in demand in South Africa and I found that a lot of companies are looking for Safety Officers,” says Mbedzi. In 2019 she completed a Safety Management Training Course (SAMTRAC) through NOSA, where she learned about concepts, procedures and techniques relating to Health, Safety and Environment.
“It’s difficult to get a job as a safety officer because organizations are looking for people with 3 to 5 years of work experience,” she says. “Even if you have the qualifications, you don’t automatically become a safety officer on site. You need the experience because the risks are too great,” she adds.
Safety Officers should always ensure that all employees are complying with Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) rules, regulations, policies, and procedures.
Mbedzi is aware that her career requires her to be conscientious and meticulous. She says that due to the meticulous attention that the job requires, people on-site sometimes refer to Safety Officers as police dogs.
“In the Safety department, just know that people will probably not like you because you are pointing out wrong things that need to be rectified to create a safe environment. You deal with different people in this field and that makes the job difficult but you just have to push,” she added.
Mbedzi hopes the trainee program will springboard her career and give her the experience she needs to one day become a Safety Manager.