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Propelling women to the summit of mining

Monitech, a South African industry leader in mining safety and monitoring solutions, has taken the lead by sending one of its women technicians to the US for a training course at one of its principals.

Mentorship is a key ingredient in advancing women in the diverse world of mining, whether those working at the mine face, or in the mining supply chain.

Several studies have indicated that it makes good sense to have greater diversity in organisations, both at board and senior levels.

Set against this increasingly favourable backdrop, there is continued pressure for greater gender diversity in the mining industry.

Based on that understanding, Monitech believes training plays a greater role in advancing women in an industry that is still largely male-dominated.

As a result, the mining safety and monitoring solutions provider recently sent one of  their women technicians, Zukiswa Mkhulisi, for a five-day training course in Evansville, Indiana, United States, at mine safety technology expert, Matrix Design.

Monitech is the sole African distributor of Matrix’s safety systems in Southern Africa.

The local supplier and its US principal, Matrix Design Group, have forged a strategic partnership to advance mining safety systems in their entirety.

The Matrix Intellizone System is the market leader in the US coal mining market on trackless mobile machinery.

To replicate this sort of market dominance in the local market, Monitech has prioritised training as a tool to equip its technicians with the much-needed technical know-how to be able to support the systems locally.

Not only is the mining safety and monitoring solutions provider advancing training of its staff, but it is taking the lead in the advancement of its women technicians.

Mkhulisi is grateful for the opportunity afforded to her by Monitech and reiterates that mentorship plays a crucial role in advancing women in this industry.

She is of the view that hard work and knowledge are crucial pillars of success in the mining industry.

“It’s about doing well and proving your worth. It’s not about being male or female; it’s about knowledge, skills and experience in your field,” she says.

As much as companies may be willing to invest in the advancement of young women in mining, Mkhulisi advises that it should also take a great deal of hard work and dedication on the part of the individual employee to make the most of the afforded opportunities.

She is a living example of a typical hard-worker, in every aspect of the word.

Armed with a National Technical Certificate completed at the Ekurhuleni West College in 2016, the 24-year old workshop technician from Umzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal, is not resting on her laurels.

She is busy enhancing her technical aptitude and is currently studying for an Electrical Engineering degree – Process and Instrumentation at the University of South Africa.

During the five-day training at Matrix, Mkhulisi was exposed to the finer details of the manufacturing processes, assembly, testing and fault-finding.

The training focused on Matrix proximity detection systems and associated equipment.

“The trip helped me gain greater insight into the processes, instrumentation and machine monitoring side of mining, a niche field in which I intend to specialise,” she says.

In conclusion, Mkhulisi is positive that through proper training, women in mining can help shape a better future for their successors as they group together to transform the industry, making it more receptive and inviting to people of all genders and backgrounds.