By Elzet Bester
Sol-Tech is building a brand-new campus and it intends to send 2 500 students per year into the workplace. This is a wonderful development for trade careers and will give young people an opportunity to be the best in their jobs. Moreover, it will offer Afrikaans-speaking young people training in their mother tongue. The question this article wants to ask though, is how many of the 2 500 will be females? What is the role of women in trade careers?
Why is it important for women to pursue a trade? According to Trudi van Wyk of the Department of Higher Education and Training, a trade is a good career option to consider, especially for women. She mentioned that our country is really experiencing major shortages of skilled artisans. Trudi encourages all ladies who are interested in practical fields to consider apprenticeships because, by making this choice, they can make a positive contribution to the development of our country and they can promote growth in our communities. She also mentions that artisans have highly paid jobs these days.
It is perhaps also a good idea to look at a few examples of women who are successful in their careers as artisans to see what role they are playing in this specific market.
Marie Burger is the first women to have qualified as an instrument mechanic at Sasol Secunda. In an interview with her that appeared in The Ridge Times she says that it is time for women to shift their boundaries. Her success serves as motivation for women in South Africa and it shows that it’s never too late to master a trade.
Marthie Jansen van Rensburg already showed an interest in careers for artisans as a child, and although she never received formal training in a trade, she realised her dream by starting the Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre in Kempton Park. According to Marthie, one of her students she is really proud of is Gloria Mabatha, the first black women who, in 2011, passed her trades test through the Indlela Trade Test Centre. She qualified as a boiler maker. Thanks to Marthie who has taken up her role in the world of trades thousands of students can receive training as artisans every year.
Katryn Fleming is Sol-Tech’s first female to have completed her training as a fitter and turner. According to Philip Minnaar, a former acting head of Sol-Tech, she was the college’s iron lady from the outset. “Katryn not only excelled academically, but also shone as a leader among the students from early on.”
Monique Pretorius (a toolmaker and a Sol-Tech alumnus) says she answers her calling in her job. She says that this is the career that has challenged her most and she loves it. She is a practical person and enjoys working with her hands. She believes that in most occupations, women are treated differently to men. As an artisan physical strength plays a major role and women do not always have the same physical strength men have, but then again, they focus more on the finer detail, which is also important.
There is a bright future for women in the world of artisans. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution starts to play a role and technology changes, opportunities for women in trades careers are getting bigger and better. Looking at Sol-Tech’s staff, it is clear that the fairer sex does not shy away from a challenge and that women play a valuable role in technical careers.
Uitgawe 6 2011 – Sol-Tech se toekoms op dié pilare gevestig
Sol-Tech-studente sê oor hul alma mater