Anglo American, 20 Aug 2015
For Nditsheni Ramovha, working on the mines has been a dream come true. “Pursuing a career in engineering has always been my dream and now I’m living that dream. Mining is seen as dangerous, rough and remote, but as a woman in mining I feel like I’m contributing towards changing this perception and showing women out there that we can do it.”
Nditsheni entered the wide world of mining through an Anglo American programme in 2010. After completing her studies in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Johannesburg, she started her practical training with our Platinum business for a year and began her career as an engineering trainee. She is now a section engineer at the Ivan Plant at Union Concentrators in Swartklip.
From trainee to experienced engineer
“It’s amazing to think how far I’ve come from the first time I stepped on a mine. My first time underground was an experience I’ll never forget. I was a girl from Joburg and knew nothing about what it would be like. It was very scary, in fact, I didn’t want to go at all. Now I’m so used to it I can spend hours underground.”
Today, Nditsheni’s daily routine requires her to determine if there is enough resources on the mine, that safety is up to the right standards, to manage breakdowns that could hamper productivity, and to prepare her team before each day gets underway.
“I am responsible for the plant and the safety of all employees on the plant. Many times my responsibilities required me to work late so balancing work and family life is hard at times, but my job is fulfilling as it has allowed me to grow as a person – to be a confident leader. I never knew I had these skills but now I am accountable for the plant and people,” she says.
Breaking the gender barrier
As a young, dynamic and enthusiastic individual, she believes that more women should get into mining, especially if they want to do something different and out of the ordinary. “It’s quite noticeable that women are under-represented in the mining industry. In meetings, sometimes I’m the only female and this needs to change. There needs to be more females in managerial and supervisory positions, but the industry is moving forward so I can definitely see this on the horizon.”
With such huge demand for women to build their careers in mining, Nditsheni says women today are empowered with opportunities to achieve a level of greatness that generations before them could only dream about. “For women to thrive and succeed in this field they need confidence and passion because it is tough and there will be days where you feel like throwing in the towel, but if you stick it out it’s a very rewarding career.”
“Through historic hardship and challenges women have grown stronger, resilient and more focussed. We know what we need, what we want and how to get there. We know that we need to change this world for future generations. Engineering is a career that allows women to explore, so let’s explore,” Nditsheni concludes.