Engineer imparts knowledge

2020-02-12 06:01
Vincent Pono

Vincent Pono

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The Free State government’s effort to transform local economic deprivation by employing internationally skilled people in mechanical engineering from its own region, is starting to bear fruit.

Testimony is the recruitment of one such graduate, Vincent Pono, by SA Truck Bodies (SATB) in Bloemfontein.

In November, last year, Pono who hails from Botshabelo, joined the manufacturing company, a member of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).

He successfully graduated with a BEng in Mechanical Engineering from the Beijing Institute of Technology in June last year.

Pono was enrolled at the institution in 2014 through the provincial government scholarship after he matriculated in 2013.

He said the challenge for him during this four-year programme, was the language. The first year was dedicated to acquiring a basic know­ledge of Mandarin. Vincent said this was not adequate and he had to put in an extra effort to keep up with his studies.

“During my undergraduate studies, most of the lectures were in Mandarin. It was difficult to keep up, so I had to use YouTube and put in extra effort to understand the content,” he said.

Vincent said the exceptional work ethics of the Chinese impressed him.

“One of the most important things I have learned in China, is never to underestimate yourself,” he said.

With perseverance and self-belief, Vincent pulled through. He now enjoys the fruit of his hard work at the company where he thrives on the importance of precision and a fast-paced working environment.

“I am really enjoying the work, and most importantly learning a lot from highly skilled engineers.”

Danie Fourie, SATB marketing and recruitment manager, said they were delighted to employ one of the graduates.

Jakkie Olivier, chief executive officer of the RMI, said: “As an industry we have to urgently address the relevant automotive skills shortages. The reality is that there has been no real focussed skills development, or under-investment in human capital for job specific requirements for many years in our country. Skills have been outpaced by technology and this has resulted in a loss of business and profits. Up-skilling and re-skilling of employees will result in increased productivity. Our industry is committed to government’s national development plan’s vision for 2030.

Recently 34 Free State students graduated from China with different degrees. Commenting on graduates from China, Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela said: “This achievement by our students abroad emphasises the Free State government’s passion for education and our collective desire to leave a lasting legacy that will increase the number of appropriately skilled people who will meet the province’s demands.”


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