Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities
As a former student and part-time lecturer at African Academy in subjects including CAD 2D & 3D, Drawing Office Orientation, Mechanical and Structural Draughting, Rudolf Hose is in a good position to comment as to why the Academy is so well-renowned for the high level and caliber of draughts people they prepare for the job market, not to mention the 100% student placement rate they invariably achieve.
Rudolf’s story of how he came to be where he is today – working as a Mechanical Engineer for BET, a division of Bateman, one of the main sponsors of the Academy – is a testament in itself to the doors the Academy is able to open to students with a will to learn and succeed and capitalise on the opportunities that come their way. Rudolf was one of two hopeful graduates from the Academy who were placed with the company at the time. It was evidently his accolades for Top Student and Best Project in Building Draughting, coupled with his notable determination and other character strengths that gave him the edge in the selection process which earned him the position.
Back at the Academy, he was remembered for these same achievements, as well as the fact that he had completed his National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering, and was well-spoken with a natural leadership style. Understanding his potential and capabilities, the Academy offered him the post of a part-time lecturer for night classes – the perfect opportunity to supplement his income, extend his repertoire of draughting knowledge and disciplines to inspire and develop the young talent of tomorrow. Rudolf accepted the post and for three years managed long days at the office and late nights at the Academy with very little sleep, but plenty of intrinsic reward to make up for it.
Rudolf recalls how he came to enroll at the Academy. Straight out of school he was working in an apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic at Cargo Motors and simultaneously putting himself through Germiston Technical College. It is here that he saw a presentation given by the Academy, and – keen to move over to a sponsorship programme – decided to apply. His technical skills made the grade and he was invited to write an aptitude test and come in for an interview. Given his disadvantaged background and the fact that his widowed mother was claiming a pension of less than R 4 000 a month, Rudolf was accepted for the course and qualified for the full sponsorship – a financial blessing which would give him the opportunity to focus solely on his course without burdening his mother or having to juggle a day job.
Not wanting to rest on his laurels waiting for the Academy to place him, he started freelancing towards the end of his course and doing drawings on a project-basis for small clients. His venture started to take off and he was soon able to buy his own A2 size printer. It was at this time that he received the offer from BET and decided to pursue a corporate career where he would be guaranteed of quality experience and exposure and a steady income. During his first week on the job, he was sent to site to help on a project before returning to the drawing office and being assigned to a work station and put to work making prints. Much of his subsequent success within the company he attributes to this type of bottom-up experience he gained during his four year apprenticeship as a junior draughtsman at the company.
Now a qualified draughtsman at the age of 29 years old, and very highly regarded at BET, Rudolf was recently in line for a promotion to Section Leader with the retirement of his colleague when he was simultaneously approached by the departmental manager on the bulk materials handling side to fill the post of mechanical engineer – a position he had always seen himself in and been eager to pursue. Today, in his sixth year at the company he no longer works on drawings, but in the mechanical engineering and marketing realm. While he may have reached this career point sooner and more directly had he completed his four year Mechanical Engineering degree through UNISA, for instance, Rudolf has no regrets about the route he has taken. He is grateful for the excellent quality experience he has obtained which he feels stand him in good stead for career growth in multiple fields and directions.
Through their exciting curriculum and extra-mural team building activities, African Academy have equipped Rudolf with the right balance of self-empowering technical and life skills, and have given him the opportunity to enter the workplace in his desired field without the burden of a study loan hanging over his head – something for which he will always be grateful.