Resounding Success in the Face of Deaf-defying Hardship

Not only is Lourens Venter’s personal success story incredibly unique, it is also remarkably inspiring. It’s not every day that you come across someone who – in the face of extreme physical adversity – refuses to accept defeat and has the self-motivation to rise to the challenge and push himself further. Lourens may be deaf, or politely put – ‘hard of hearing’, but he is certainly not one to wallow in self-pity and act hard done by. He is a go-getter who has accepted his handicap and the limitations it has on his life and has made a choice not to be governed or defined by his condition.

Having always been technically inclined, Lourens left high school in Grade 11 to attend the Germiston College – recently

Lourens Venter

Lourens Venter

renamed Ekurhuleni West College. He completed his N3 to N6 studies which has subsequently been converted to a National Diploma. His lecturer was quick to spot his potential and asked Lourens whether he had an interest in completing a course in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) at African Academy. Realising that to find employment he would have to go the extra mile and verse himself with as much theoretical and practical experience as possible, Lourens saw this as an opportunity he could not ignore. He applied at the Academy where he was accepted on the sponsorship programme and began his one-year General Draughting course training as a junior CAD draughtsman at the beginning of 2002.

Right from the start he was impressed by the well-prepared lectures and the interesting course material which kept him stimulated and motivated to learn and excel right through the year. He still considers lecturers Alta Neto and Willie Beetge as lifelong role models who, he feels took a special interest in developing his skills and talents and helping him on his chosen career path. Lourens passed his year-end exams and through the Academy was placed at Protekon (now known as Transnet Projects Design) as a Senior Technical Worker the following year. The crowning moment of his time at the Academy was when he was nominated as an ‘Industry Top Alumni’ at his graduation ceremony.

At Transnet Projects Design (former Protekon) he has been involved in creating layout and detail drawings for some very exciting and high-profile projects, including: the Port of Richards Bay, Durban, Ngqura, Cape Town and Saldanha. His day-to-day work involved harbour infrastructure, port planning, port paving, road or rail bridges.

Today, Lourens is working at RCE Consultants as an Engineering Technician where he is involved with projects for example for EXXARO, HERNIC FERROCHROME, RAND WATER, PHOLA, ELDERS, CITY DEEP and few projects. Lourens is happy where he is and does not foresee himself diversifying into a new draughting discipline. He finds his work very rewarding and gets particular satisfaction from making site visits and seeing the input he has made to the success of the project in the flesh.

Both companies have recognised his keen interest in drawing and have invested in his career development by sending him for training on a variety of AutoCAD as well as MicroStation courses, including: 3D Modelling, GEOPAK Civil Engineering Suite, Bentley Rebar and Managing MicroStation.

Lourens accredits much of his career success to the Academy who ‘helped alleviate the stress of job-hunting’ and taught him to work hard and do drawings right first time round. For this reason he is often called on to do the more urgent and pressing projects, which has contributed to his popularity with his seniors and peers alike. The Academy has also made Lourens aware of the importance of keeping his skill set current and staying abreast with the drawing applications and technology that is being used in the workplace.

Lourens’s story is an inspiration to young students, school leavers, and anyone with a dream to work in draughting to defy the odds against them and pursue the opportunities in front of them. All one needs is the help of the Academy, a background in technical drawing, a strong will to learn and the self-motivation and discipline to achieve.