Women’s Month profile: Shona Parker

“I entered CTC back in 2001 for the first time. I had been placed on the DOL project (department of labour). I had absolutely no technical experience before starting (I came from working as a receptionist at the gym), never having even changed a tyre on a car I started my journey to becoming a Diesel mechanic. I was the first female Diesel mechanic student at CTC, and even had a HOD ask me if I sure that I wanted to be a mechanic, would I rather not be an electrician.

During my training at basics, there were no other female apprentices attending CTC at the same time as me. It was daunting in the beginning, but I found out very early that it was a choice that I was happy I made. Towards the end of basic training, Kleinkopje Colliery (Anglo) came to see the progress of us who were on the DOL project and ended up offering three of us an apprenticeship.

I remember walking to the field diesel workshops on the mine for the very first time, when I got there the foremen had called all the workshop staff so that the Engineering manager could introduce me to them (some first thought I was a rep from a company). I was the first female diesel mechanic apprentice with Kleinkopje and a few changes had to be made to cater for me being there (workshop toilets were on the list). I knew straight away that I would have to put in all my effort to show the industry that we had a place in it.

Throughout my entire apprenticeship, most of the people that I worked with at the mine treated me as one of them, never making me feel as though I should not be there. At the same time, it was a very physically demanding career choice but being persistent, never giving up even after working long extended shifts I was able to solidify my place there. Even my colleagues saw that I was serious about being there and not wanting to be treated differently, simply because of who I was.

When I returned to CTC for further training the staff there did the same, always supportive and never treating me any different than that of my fellow apprentices. I believe that hard work pays off and feel that I accomplished those goals that I set for myself by receiving honours from CTC, passing trade test first attempt and ultimately earning respect from all that I worked with (even the few that were sceptical in the beginning)

When I qualified, I was employed by Kleinkopje as an artisan and was placed in the dozer section, after about a year working in the field as an artisan I transferred to Anglo central garage and continued there. While working at the central garage, CTC had placed an advertisement in the Witbank News that they were looking for a training officer. After considering how far I had come and what I wanted to still achieve, I applied for the position and was successful in being offered a position.

Back at CTC where it all started only this time on a different path I started as a Diesel Training officer. Being the first female training officer in the mechanical department was yet another chance to prove that we do fit into this industry. I learnt many new skills as a training officer, and even though this was also daunting in the beginning through the support of my colleges I felt that I found my place here too.

After working quite some time as a training officer, the opportunity of the position in research development came up. I again looked at where I was and where I wanted to go and was fortunate enough to be selected for the position, which is where I am currently.”

  • Shona Parker, CTC

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