Determined to succeed
Alfred Sibeko faced an uncertain future in 1994 as he could not continue his engineering studies due to insufficient financial means. Fortunately, the friends that he had made at college told him about a Draughting Academy that had just opened which had been created with the purpose of enabling financially disadvantaged students to be able to acquire skills in the Draughting field as a stepping stone towards a lucrative career.
“The African Academy had just opened its doors, and I was one of their first students,” says Alfred. “I met with the Dean
to discuss my financial situation and he arranged for a full bursary for my first certificate in Draughting. The only condition of the bursary was that I had to work hard and pass at the end of the year – something that I was determined to do.”
Alfred did not know much about Draughting, but he had a good eye for drawings, and an ability to imagine things. His first studies in Engineering proved that he already had an insight into how structures come together, which helped him in the beginning.
The Academy opened a world of opportunity to Alfred that he was not even aware existed. “Once I had finished my certificate, the Academy helped me find a job at Highveld Steel, where I continued my training. I used the skills I learnt at the Academy in a wide variety of Draughting disciplines, from Structural Engineering to machinery design. This combination has meant that I have a wide range of expertise to offer, and it is the foundation for my current position as Acting Head of Draughting at Exxaro Resources’ Zincor mine.”
Now that he has been employed as a Draughtsperson for so many years, Alfred appreciates the solid grounding that he was given at the African Academy. “There are so many fly-by-night training facilities out there that just teach students how to use software packages. The African Academy not only taught us how to use the software, but really taught us about Draughting – and about so many life skills as well. I am sure that is the reason why more than 90% of graduates each year are employed – the industry knows that we are properly trained to do a good job.”
Alfred has stayed in touch with most of his friends from the Academy, most of whom have excellent jobs in various Draughting disciplines – one of them is the head Draughtsperson for a major South African mining company.
“Considering the environment I came from, there is no way I would have been able to succeed in a career path that is in international demand, without having studied at the African Academy,” says Alfred. “I am so grateful to the Academy for investing in me with a bursary – it has really made a world of difference to my life, and to the lives of my fellow students.”