In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD)  on 8 March, Bühler Johannesburg recognises the social, economic, cultural, and related achievements of women, while advocating for gender equality, by highlighting three exceptional women at the company.

The theme for IWD 2024 is to ‘Inspire Inclusion’. The campaign aims to create a gender-equal world that is free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination, and where difference is valued and celebrated. It encourages everyone to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about discrimination, and take action to drive gender parity.

Alice Nchabang, HR Officer

An example of how women have forged successful career paths at Bühler Johannesburg is HR Officer Alice Nchabang, one of the company’s learners and now part of a team of six. Her diverse duties range from preparing monthly HR reports for management, to developing a skills plan involving all stakeholders, to monitoring apprentices and learners, and monthly reporting of employment equity statistics.

What keeps Alice passionate about her role is that it feels like home and not being at work. “The work culture is amazing, and we accord each other mutual respect, whether male or female. I love the work I do. It comes with a lot of changes and challenges, which I enjoy even more. Going above and beyond my duties does not feel forced or an additional burden – I simply enjoy it.”

Her career highlights to date were her appointment as HR Officer in March 2023 and travelling to Dubai for HR training. She started working at Bühler Johannesburg in October 2015 as a HR learner, progressing to HR Administrator/Payroll Administrator in 2017. In January 2018, she was appointed permanently, followed by her present role.

Commenting on how Bühler Johannesburg promotes diversity and inclusivity, Alice explains that, when any new employee is appointed, the company looks at who is best suited for the position in question, irrespective of race or gender.

 “We also host events just to educate our employees,” adds Alice. Focusing on the 2024 IWD theme of #InspireInclusion, she says: “I love the idea. As women, we need to be respected and be able to embrace ourselves, our identities, abilities and much more. I fully support the initiative.”

In terms of changes Alice would like to see in society and in the workplace to make the IWD 2024 theme a lived reality, she highlights soft skills, having a clear and aligned skills and development plan at the company, more workplace benefits, and a continued focus on inclusion and diversity.

Fikile Mfusi, Production Planner

A production planner for the value stream department, Fikile Mfusi schedules production and monitors the production process for problems, ensuring that the workshop meets all deadlines by scheduling and managing timeliness.

“I am self-motivated and career-driven, doing what makes me happy. What excites me about my work is that I am the first female production planner here in Bühler Johannesburg, combined with the support I receive from my male colleagues,” highlights Fikile, who started out as a boilermaker apprentice. “It was not an easy journey, but with the support of my family and my foreman, I became a qualified boilermaker artisan.”

Fikile adds that Bühler Johannesburg is steadily employing more women in the company, especially in traditional male-dominated roles. It also hosts a career expo to promote the benefit of STEM education and careers to the youth. “Nothing is impossible when you have a dream. A lot of people will tell you that you cannot make it and you do not have what it takes. But if it is in your heart and you feel it, there is nothing that will stop you.”

Fikile’s message on the occasion of IWD 2024 is for young people to have the courage to think differently, the courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, the courage to discover the impossible, to conquer problems, and always succeed. “These are great qualities that they must work towards. Remember, it always seems impossible until it is done.”

Jaimee Woods, Installation Supervisor

Jaimee Woods is the first female mechanical erector and mechanical site supervisor in Bühler globally. She started her career as a boilermaker apprentice for Bühler. The company saw her potential and afforded her the necessary opportunity to actualise it. “The tank is not yet empty, and I still have a journey to travel.”

Jaimee leads the teams that install Bühler equipment, combined with fault-finding activity where necessary. Her role encompasses planning, assisting with electrical drawings, and plant layout design in the mechanical engineering department.

“Over the years I have worked at Bühler Johannesburg, I have taken the time to invest in learning and developing skills that allow me to assist in multiple roles. Hence my profile has become highly diversified,” explains Jaimee.

“If I look at myself as just being human as opposed to being a woman, it makes all the difference in how I react and respond. When a task is allocated to me, it indicates a level of trust and faith in the skills I have to offer. I choose to see myself as a person wanting to make a difference and an impact; I choose not to see myself as what society labels me as. To make a difference and an impact, I must break barriers that seem impossible to break. This is what drives me and keeps me excited about what is next in line,” says Jaimee.

Bühler Johannesburg provides equal opportunities to all. “It is not solely about gender; it is about what you can do, what you can offer, and how far you are willing to go.” Learnerships and apprenticeships at the company always feature a healthy demographic. “There is a lot of work we have to do as women working in this industry to encourage other women to part take in engineering and manufacturing as engineers, technicians, and artisans,” she concludes.

By Admin