Career case studies

Leanette Mofokeng

Leanette is 30 years old and works in the warranty department as a maintenance technician. She graduated with an electrical engineering qualification in 2008 and feels blessed to have had the opportunity to experience Gibela’s overseas training programme.

She feels that the experience was incredible on both personal and professional levels, as it was her first time, both flying on an aircraft and going overseas. She says she gained an important understanding of the culture of Gibela’s majority shareholder, Alstom, and a practical understanding of the work she would be doing, by visiting Alstom’s various operations in France over a period of six months.

Leanette is especially proud, as she was the first woman to be hired by Gibela as a technician.

She has found a way to balance her work and family life with her husband, Lehlohonnolo, and baby daughter Lethabo, who is almost two years old. She wants other women Gibela employees to know that, even though the industry is still male-dominated, if one works hard and is dedicated, anything is possible.

Kinssee Kgole

Kinssee Kgole is 25 years old and works in the maintenance department as a troubleshooting technician. She has a National Certified Diploma in Engineering, but is busy studying further as she aims to take a trade test to become a qualified air-conditioning artisan.

Kinssee has only pleasant memories of her overseas training with Gibela. She was lucky enough to travel to a number of countries: France, Sweden and The Netherlands. This was her first trip overseas and she was in training for five months.

Ironically, the best memories of the time she spent abroad are of the time she was sick. She truly appreciates the care and support that Gibela and Alstom gave her. With all the attention, she says, she did not even miss home. Kinssee is grateful to Gibela and Alstom for allowing her to ask so many questions during training, even if they were not always directly linked to her training. This allowed her to see first-hand, the way that her job is linked to the company objective, and how important it is.

She feels that her troubleshooting and modification team is “the best team” as they are like family to her, and she is grateful to them for their care and support.

Dominic Jafta

Dominic is 34 years old and, when he was younger, never dreamed he would be working one day as a troubleshooting technician in Gibela’s maintenance department.

Born and bred in the Pretoria township of Soshanguve, he was a gifted rugby player and was awarded a rugby scholarship. Unfortunately, he injured his lower back badly and decided to study towards becoming an electrical engineer instead. In 2004, he started his practical training with Transnet and from there has worked with Toshiba and Gautrain.

His training in France, Italy and Belgium courtesy of Gibela was for a period of three months and he found it to be a great experience. He was particularly interested in learning about the systems that Gibela uses, such as the train control and monitoring system (TCMS) and the communication system (PISCES). Working and learning at Alstom while he was overseas also gave him practical insight on managing network maintenance and fault-finding, skills he now uses in his current position.

Dominic has dedicated his free time to studying further with a view to completing an operations management PMI course and his master electrician’s certificate. When asked how he balances this workload, his reply was: “sleep is for the poor and lazy!”

With so much on the go, Dominic’s advice to other Gibela employees is that one must: “set goals, work hard and keep pushing through setbacks in order to succeed.”

Andrew Nhlapo

Andrew is 37 years old and has more career experience than some of the other trainees. Born in Duduza, near Nigel, he studied electrical engineering at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Having been fascinated with trains all of his life, working at Gibela and assisting with assembling the trains in South Africa, is a dream come true. His field of interest is the specialised technology used in trains and locomotives. Andrew recalls fond memories of working at Union Carriage & Wagon (now Alstom Ubunye), where he worked on all kinds of trains and locomotives as a quality control inspector. Andrew has also worked on Gautrain projects and at ArcelorMittal as a technician.

He joined Gibela as a troubleshooting technician in the maintenance department and in September 2015 was sent to France, Italy and Belgium for three months of training. He thoroughly enjoyed being able to see and examine Alstom’s maintenance systems and components in person. Even the different languages were not a barrier to learning for Andrew – he recalls a few funny experiences in which he used sign language to communicate with others.

He passionately believes that Gibela will be the last company he works for. He looks forward to being with us until retirement. Andrew’s words of wisdom to other employees are: “stay humble, stay focused and be a team player.”