International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), an annual event that celebrates the incredible contributions of women engineers worldwide, marks its 11th anniversary in 2024 under the theme of #EnhancedByEngineering. This year, INWED celebrates women engineers who have enhanced lives and livelihoods through their work. These remarkable individuals contribute to building a brighter future for all of us.

Shongeleni Beauty Chauke, Hardware Engineer, Bühler Johannesburg

An ECSA technician candidate and an associate member of SAIEE, Shongeleni matriculated at EPP Mhinga Secondary School in 2012, focusing on physical science and mathematics. She obtained both her National Diploma in Electrical Engineering and BTech in Electrical Engineering from the Tshwane University of Technology.

During her six-year career to date, Shongeleni has gained experience in sectors as diverse as mining, consulting, and milling solutions. She started out as a learner technician at Palabora Copper Mine in 2018 and worked as a design engineer at EHL Engineering Group in 2019 before joining Bühler Johannesburg in November 2022.

As a Hardware Engineer, Shongeleni designs Motor Control Centres (MCCs) using industry-standard software such as COMOS and Ruplan. She collaborates with the automation and installation teams to ensure the successful execution of projects, from conception to completion.

Her scope of work includes organising automation kick-off meetings, reviewing process diagrams and equipment lists, generating power summaries for plants, developing automation concept diagrams, and efficiently managing material ordering through SAP.

The opportunity to solve complex problems and witness tangible results that impact various industries is what drives my passion for engineering,” comments Shongeleni. Being able to contribute her skills and expertise to projects that have real-world implications is incredibly fulfilling and motivates her to continually strive for excellence.

Bühler Johannesburg is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace where every employee feels valued and respected,” notes Shongeleni. It has various initiatives in place, including mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and educational outreach efforts, to support and encourage the participation of women in engineering roles.

She says women can greatly contribute to this year’s INWED theme of #Enhancedbyengineering by bringing diverse perspectives, innovative ideas, and unique problem-solving skills to the table. By actively engaging in engineering projects and initiatives, women can showcase the transformative impact of their contributions on enhancing technological advancements and driving societal progress.

“My message to girls aspiring to pursue a career in engineering is to be confident in their abilities and embrace the opportunities that come their way. And not to be discouraged by the male-dominated nature of the field; instead, see it as a chance to make a difference and inspire change. Stay curious, keep learning, and believe in your potential to succeed in engineering,” concludes Shongeleni.

Savannah Vorster, Project Engineer: Mechanical, Bühler Johannesburg

Savannah studied draughting at the African Academy in 2018. Bühler Johannesburg offered her a learnership in the engineering department to be part of the women in STEM engineering program.

She officially started working for the company in 2019, with this marking her fifth anniversary at Bühler Johannesburg. During this time, she has studied mechanical engineering part time, obtained her N6, and is currently furthering her mechanical engineering studies. In addition, she is studying towards her CAPM certification. “I started out as a learner and slowly made my way up to a Project Engineer,” comments Savannah.

She works closely with the Project Manager to support project planning, ordering, and related project management tasks. “I assist the design team with 3D designs and various drawings.  My role is a hybrid role between project management and a plant designer,” explains Savannah.

Savannah grew up watching her dad fix and build various things. “I eventually got to an age where I could help him. I found it interesting how things worked and was always determined to find solutions to problems. A high school project saw her design a Ferris wheel. “I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” she says.

Savannah’s passion saw her recognised as the top learner for engineering, graphics, and design in her district in matric year, which is when she realised that her talent matched her interests. “Later I became exposed to the positive impact engineering has on the world. I have always been passionate about helping people and a career in engineering aligned with what I wanted.”

Bühler Johannesburg has many initiatives to promote inclusivity and diversity including supporting women in STEM fields, plus a mentorship programme where it works closely with the surrounding communities to offer full bursaries to hardworking students who wish to better themselves.

“I think women engineers are still underrepresented in the workplace. By highlighting women in engineering, young girls can see that anything is possible with hard work and determination,” Savannah says about the importance of INWED. “Engineering spaces are still dominated by men, but women are slowly making their way in and leaving an impact while doing so. It is important to celebrate these women and give them the recognition they deserve, and #EnhancedbyEngineering is doing exactly that.”

Savannah concludes: “To all the young girls, the only thing stopping you from doing what you want to do is yourself. You have the creativity, intelligence, and determination to excel in anything you choose to do. There will always be someone who disagrees with your path and career choice, but the only opinion that matters in what you choose to do is yours.”

By Admin