There are five key points that young engineers should be aware of, but are rarely informed about. So affirmed SA Women in Engineering cofounder and MD Naadiya Moosajee, giving the keynote address at the Denel Dynamics Top Young Achiever Awards function in Centurion, south of Pretoria, on Friday.
These points are lessons that she has learnt from her own experiences.
First, if the young engineer has an idea, he/she needs to turn it into action. “Write a two page proposal,” Moosajee advised. Writing an idea down makes one think about it thoroughly. And it can be shown to others, for advice. But it must only be shown to a person or people that the young engineer trusts. Ideas can be stolen.
Second, “life is not fair”. Moosajee admitted that she had difficulty accepting that, but it is true.
The final three lessons she summed up as the “three Ps”. Passion: you must be passionate about what you do. Perspiration: you must work hard. Persistence: “[y]ou have to be persistent to achieve anything”.
“The world needs you to go out there and be innovative. Be inventive,” she said, addressing the assembled pupils, students and interns. “We need you to become innovators, inventors.”
Regarding her organisation she reported that there were 2 000 girls across South Africa participating in its programmes. SA Women in Engineering was partnering with the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (better known as Unesco) – and not just in South Africa. This year the local body is starting a programme in Kenya.
SA Women in Engineering not only trains mentors for young women engineers and students, it also trains the young women to get the best out of their mentorships.
“The value add of having women in engineering is just because our ideas together [men, women, different cultures and nationalities] make better solutions,” she stated. “Denel is one of the companies that believes in what we are doing. We have a university programme; we celebrate innovation. We have an industry programme. There’s a lot of opportunities out there!”