Women encouraged at graduation

2017-12-06 06:00
Graduates of the Phakamile Mabija Artisanship Programme who qualified as, among other things, electrician, diesel mechanic, millwright and fitter and turner, with MEC Mxolisi Sokatsha.Photos: Supplied

Graduates of the Phakamile Mabija Artisanship Programme who qualified as, among other things, electrician, diesel mechanic, millwright and fitter and turner, with MEC Mxolisi Sokatsha.Photos: Supplied

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“Women, just go out there and do what you want to do, as anything is possible. The world is no longer ruled by men. This is proven by the fact that us women are penetrating the field of mining. We are living in a liberated world where men do not rule anymore – it is a 50/50 scale.”

These were the motivational words of electrical training graduate Masego Mokgera (36) after she had received her Phakamile Mabija Artisanship Programme certificate on Thursday, 23 November.

She was among the 16 graduates who completed the Department of Roads and Public Works’ three-year apprenticeship programme with a 100% pass rate.

They qualified in trades such as diesel mechanics and fitting and turning thanks to partnerships of mines like the Sishen Mine, the Kimberley Mine, Afrisam and Blackrock.

To Mokgera, the training course brought out the bravery in her through equipping her with on-the-job training in what used to be regarded as a man’s job.

Mokgera further expressed how empowered she felt after she had made her family proud by getting over her fears of working underground.

“It is hard to believe that I buried that fear the first day of the course in 2015 when I started my training at the De Beers Mine Training Centre.

“Then I proceeded to Black Rock Mine where I did on-the-job training,” she said.

“I never thought I would overcome the fears of working with electri­city underground.

“But I only realise now that it was all due to the scary stories that I used to hear about people dying underground. One gets used to it at a later stage”

She said although most of them are still looking for jobs, she is confident that they will be employed soon.

The 36-year-old mother of an eight-year-old daughter said she had been doing odd jobs for too long and had heard about the apprenticeship from her cousin.

Congratulating the graduates, the MEC for Roads and Public Works Mxolisi Sokatsha, said they have made their families, government and the pro­vince proud.

Sokatsha announced that the department was embarking on the programme a fourth time in January 2018, and that the goal was to see 25 women qualifying in various trades.

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