by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – KHOMOTSO Merriam Monyai is testament that with the necessary support, women can reach their goals in a male-dominated industry.
In what is a familiar story amid youth unemployment and waning opportunities in South Africa, she found herself stranded after matriculating at Residensia Secondary School in Sebokeng.
Both her parents were unemployed and her matric results were average.
Fortunately, in 2014, she discovered the French Southern African Schneider Electric Education Centre (F’SASEC) following an advertisement in a local newspaper.
The training offered by F’SASEC at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) peaked Khomotso’s interest.
The Sebokeng-born Monyai attended a two-year course at F’SASEC and continued with her studies at Sedibeng College.
“When I arrived at F’SASEC, some things were a bit challenging for me,” she recalled.
Monyai recounted she had no background in mathematics as she did Mathematical Literacy in high school.
“Eventually, I managed to pull through and became one of the best candidates the centre has ever had,” she said.
“I had no knowledge of Electrical Engineering, but I managed to with the help of the wonderful lectures to successfully comprehend the course material,” Monyai said.
She feels “blessed” to have stepped into F’SASEC because she started as a student and then became employed by the centre.
“I am glad they saw my potential and then decided to hire me,” Monyai added.
Monyai passed her electrical trade test and worked as an Electrical Lab Assistant at F’SASEC at VUT, where she assisted students with domestic and industrial wiring, focusing on safety when working with electricity.
“I used to perform electrical maintenance on any electrical components that were faulty or needed to be fixed, and ordered the equipment required in the student workshops,” she said.
Monyai is currently working at Schneider Electric as a Field Services graduate intern.
Her role involves providing technical field support for company products by servicing sites and/or delivering or installing equipment, resolving maintenance and operational issues in the field and performing troubleshooting procedures.
Monyai conceded there were times she almost gave up particularly as an aspiring female electrical engineer as the field is male-dominated.
“However, my professor, who saw my potential, advised me to hang on and break the status quo by proving that women can also excel in the field of engineering,” Monyai said.
She has N1 and N2 Electrical Engineering from F’SASEC and an N3 Electrical Engineering qualification from Sedibeng College.
Her exploits are celebrated in line with Women’s Month (August) in South Africa.
– CAJ News