Johannesburg, 22 May 2017– Twelve female engineering graduates and two female BCom marketing and economics graduates are among the 15 graduates that will be joining Barloworld Equipment’s 2017-2019 Graduate Development Programme.
The 24-month work integrated programme was launched in January 2016 with the aim of developing and nurturing the company’s future leaders.
Francis Graham, Barloworld Equipment’s Divisional Executive Director HR, said he is delighted to welcome the 15 new graduates to this year’s programme. “Last year eight of the 10 graduates who joined the programme were women, so to have an opportunity to develop another eight women to take up leadership roles in our organisation is an honour and privilege,” he said.
Diversity and inclusion is a key focus of Barloworld Equipment’s HR strategy. That diversity includes gender diversity. “We are committed to increasing the number of female leaders and employees in our company to 40% of our workforce by 2020 and to growing the number of female engineers and artisans in our ranks. The Graduate Development Programme is one of several initiatives we have created at Barloworld Equipment to achieve just that,” he said.
The two-year programme exposes the graduates to all the company’s key operational areas, giving them an in-depth understanding of the workings of each business unit. This ensures that when they take up a leadership position in the company they understand the overall business and how the units work together.
The programme comprises work rotation, technical training, personal development and mentorship. Each graduate is assigned an engineer as a mentor, who provides expert advice and guidance as they gain organisational knowledge and learn about Barloworld Equipment’s operations, processes, policies and cultures.
“The aim of the programme is to train and develop graduates to meet our specific leadership needs and build the future leaders and specialists that will take our organisation forward. We strive attract and retain southern Africa’s top graduates so that we can build and grow our specialist skills pipeline,” added Graham.
Mpho Khumalo, an electrical engineering graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand, is delighted to have been accepted into the programme.
“This opportunity means the world to me. As a university graduate, work experience is crucial to advancing one’s career, especially in the corporate space. Getting into the Barloworld Equipment Graduate Development Programme is providing me with a good foundation from which to build on, and also enhances my personal brand.
“Not only will it give me an opportunity to apply the knowledge I’ve gained through the programme, but will also enable me to contribute to the growth of South Africa’s economy in the longer term.”
Khumalo would like to advance her technical experience before moving on to the business side of engineering, which is where her heart lies.
Her medium-term vision is to complete a Masters in Electrical Engineering with a focus on renewable energy, and also study towards an MBA.
She says it’s not always easy being a woman in the engineering space. “At times, you have to do a lot more than your male counterparts for them to believe you’re capable of doing your job. Luckily not all men have this attitude.”
She adds that women are changing the engineering landscape, encouraging diversity and introducing leadership styles that are bringing fresh perspectives and innovation to the sector.
Her advice to students studying engineering is to keep focused, persevere and complete their degrees.
“There is a huge shortage of engineers in South Africa and many opportunities that young engineering graduates can take advantage of if they prove themselves.”
Barloworld Equipment has been at the forefront of training engineering (and other) graduates since 1979 and remains committed to playing its part in reducing the massive skills shortage in the engineering, mining and technical fields, particularly at the top leadership tier.
A key pillar of the company’s success has been the provision of world-leading after-sales support and service for its construction and mining clients in southern Africa. “We invest millions annually in developing the skills of our employees so that we can continue to provide the quality support and exemplary service our clients have come to expect from us. Developing quality leaders that understand our business and can meet our customer needs and provide service and solutions beyond their expectations is a big part of that success,” he concluded.
Barloworld Equipment is currently recruiting graduates for its 2018 cohort and applications close in June 2017. Application forms are available on Barloworld Equipment’s website.