3 young women engineers make a difference in their communities

June 30, 2019 • Mining & Energy, People, Southern Africa

Moreblessing Chipango, Junior Engineer at Norconsult Iyanda.

Moreblessing Chipango, Junior Engineer at Norconsult Iyanda.

Norconsult Iyanda is a black woman-owned electrical engineering company that provides knowledge and expertise in design and project management for electrical engineering projects. Three young women who are employees of Norconsult Iyanda have been honoured by the company. These young women work in a traditionally male-predominant industry.

The women are Junior Engineer Moreblessing Chipango, age 29; Engineer-in-training Davina Ramadhin, age 28; and Engineering Draftsperson Miché van Rensburg, age 29. These young women are currently working in the field of Electrical Engineering, but they also share a keen interest in both the health of the planet and renewable energy. “We’re very proud to be employers of these young women who are part of the next generation of cutting-edge Engineers who will literally shape the future,” said Thuli Njapha, Managing Director of Norconsult Iyanda.

Moreblessing Chipango knew from an early age that she wanted to do something important and change the lives of people. “At Norconsult, I am doing what I love, and giving back at the same time. Working on electrification programmes means that I have to investigate how people live, what their needs are. I then design electrical systems to meet their needs. These are my people I am helping; my grandmother lives in a rural area. Bringing electricity to these rural communities gives me great satisfaction. It literally changes people’s lives,” said Chipango.

Davina Ramadhin, Engineer-in-training at Norconsult Iyanda.

Davina Ramadhin, Engineer-in-training at Norconsult Iyanda.

Davina Ramadhin, Engineer-in-training, joined Norconsult Iyanda after she completed a BSc in Electrical Engineering at Howard College in Kwazulu-Natal. “I have always liked Physics and Maths so it was a natural progression to move into the field of engineering,” Ramadhin said. Ramadhin recently returned from a working trip to Brno in the Czech Republic where she learnt about the latest global trends in Switchgear, the technology used to protect important parts of substations. “It was exciting for me to be exposed to a different culture and learn about new and different design possibilities. I learnt, too, that terminology varies around the world, a useful lesson for the future,” said Ramadhin about her trip overseas.

Ramadhin was part of a group of technicians and engineers who took on a project to conduct a Factory Acceptance Test at the global leaders in power and automation technologies’ (ABB) facilities for a project that Norconsult Iyanda is currently working on.

Miché van Rensburg has been with Norconsult Iyanda for 8 years and is a young woman making history in her field of work. van Rensburg is one of the few women in South Africa responsible for interpreting concepts into drawings for the designs. “I come in between the concept and the building or installation. One of the most important aspects of my job is working with, and understanding the needs of the Engineer whose concepts Design I have to turn into plans. I am also involved in setting up projects as well as ensuring Quality Assurance of all drawings within Norconsult Iyanda,” van Rensburg said.

Miche van Rensburg, Engineering Draftsperson at Norconsult Iyanda

Miche van Rensburg, Engineering Draftsperson at Norconsult Iyanda

Chipango and Ramadhin are currently working on their professional registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa. These ladies, despite enjoying the work that they do, caution that individuals should not believe that men and women received equal treatment in the engineering industry. “We have to work harder to prove ourselves and to show we are capable of doing our jobs,” Chipango said. “We have to fight to be seen,” Ramadhin added.

“A lot of work needs to be done to shift attitudes within the sector. There is a gap between junior and senior women engineers. While the number of junior Engineers shows aptitude, often men making hiring decisions tend to choose men over women more times than not. But, we are actively focused on changing and improving this perception,” said Managing Director Thuli Njapha.

These three young women are passionate about their jobs and want to be an example for young women who are deciding on their career path. “We want girls to know that there is no such thing as male-only jobs. We can all do whatever it is we want to do,” Chipango said. Chipango also urged young women to “aim high.” “Empowerment means being able to choose whatever it is you want. In the past, women were encouraged to choose what some may consider soft subjects – like the arts. Today, I hope that girls know they can be whatever it is they want to be,” Ramadhin added.

Edited by Kojo Essah

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