PRESS RELEASE – VEECRAFT
FIRST FEMALE BOILERMAKER APPRENTICE TO QUALIFY AS BOILERMAKER ARTISAN
Q&A with Meagan Cloete, the first female of all the Learners in the Paramount Maritime Holdings Group to qualify as a Boilermaker Artisan.
Tell us about your career choice
MEAGAN: My inspiration to become a Boilermaker stems from my father’s enthusiasm in this trade and the way in which he approached the metal forming tasks he was given to do, the interest shown in the skills he enacted and also the accuracy with which he performed these difficult skills.
It was these practices that has fostered this passion in me of wanting to apply these skills my father possesses and for me to follow in my father’s footsteps.
Tell us about your career as Apprentice Boilermaker at Veecraft:-
MEAGAN: I commenced training as an Apprentice at Veecraft in the boilermaking trade on 10 July 2017, after completing three years of theoretical studies at Northlink TVET College (May 2013 to April 2016) where I passed 3 subjects in N2 and needed N2 Engineering Science to qualify to do the Boilermaker’s Trade Test. Engineering Science was not one of my pet subjects, so I had to have my Apprenticeship contract extended until I pass this subject. Only through devoted persistence I finally passed with 48%, giving me the passport to doing the trade test.
My Boilermaker Apprenticeship contract was an UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) funded Legacy contract over a 4 year period, prescribing to CBMT (Competency Based Modular Training) principles, where theory and practical training methods were applied. During my induction practical training period I skinned a few of my left hand fingers on a grinding wheel, which gave me a wake-up call to take my job seriously and to concentrate on my work at all times.
The on-the-job written assessments was a bit of a scare, as we had to study at home after work and then had to write a test every week. Seeing there was no formal guidance, we were left to our own mercy and in so doing we landed up with 2nd and 3rd attempts in the first few written assessments. We quickly figured out the questioning pattern and through steady progression we managed to achieve a pass mark at every attempt thereafter.
Now, when it comes to modular practical project work, I am full of confidence as I thrive on tasks with a challenge. Practical work has never been a problem for me, if given ample time to figure out the “mechanics” thereof. My work is always neat and accurate, always completed on time with excellent fit-ups. It is not that I am blowing my trumpet, but my work is mostly meets the satisfaction of the Supervisors, which I proudly treasure.
What do you have to say about the Boilermaker Trade Test itself?
MEAGAN: Wow!!!! What an experience.
The 10 days Orientation training prior to Trade Testing was not that bad, except that your mind constantly reminds you of the trade test that lies ahead and that you must complete all tasks to pass, with time being your worst enemy.
These thoughts slowed down the process to such an extent that the Facilitator (Lecturer) expressed her concern to me and also informed the Senior Training Officer (STO) that she does not think I will be able to make it. I then requested that the Senior Training Officer comes to visit me on Thursday, the day before Trade Testing.
I needed some moral support and a confidence boost for the Trade Test on Friday and Saturday, 27th and 28th August 2021. Well, his visit to False Bay College that Thursday, 26 August 2021, seemed to do the trick. Based on my performance over the 10 days at College versus my Trade Test results, it surprised everybody and it definitely did surprise me.
The Trade Test was pretty tough, but I kept focused and followed the pointers shared with me by the STO and this carried me through the storm.
What do you have to say about women in a male dominated workplace?
- We all wear overalls, that is, the same PPE, don’t we?
- We are differently shaped to men, but ships are also differently shaped, yet they are all called ships.
- Modern technology and lifting equipment overrides physique.
- Are we not human, so, what’s the difference?
From here onwards, what is your aspirations?
MEAGAN: TO DEVELOP THIS GREAT LOVE OF MINE FOR THE BOILERMAKER TRADE
I would like to carry on working for the Paramount Maritime Holdings Group, irrespective for which Business Unit, so that I can enrich my knowledge and experience in boat and ship building activities, as well as in other fields within the Industry. My ambition is then to pass on this revelation to other up-and-coming Ship Builders.
My aspiration is to become the first Female Hot Works (Boilermaker) Team Leader at Veecraft, or at one of the other Business Units in the PMH Group.
My desire, thereafter, is to become a Boilermaker Foreman in the Engineering Industry, promoting new technological ideas and innovation properties.