By Benjamin Brits
Anyone who has met Anamarie Lyn Penniston Sibiya would immediately know of her bubbly and encouraging personality, while in her own view she always likes to ‘keep things real’.
November 2021 personality profile sponsored by:
You would find very few prouder ‘women in construction’ in South Africa than this young lady. Growing up in the small, but well known South African town of Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal, Penniston Sibiya was fortunate to start out life with exposure from strong career parents with a father who was a management executive and mother who was in finance.
Progressing in her career, passion for what she does has always been important and she chose to gain qualification as an electrician and in instrumentation. Through her employment path at the time, she then fell in love with refrigeration, and this was an open door into the sector.
It was in 2010 when Penniston Sibiya first made industry headlines as she became South Africa’s first woman to ever complete a diploma in ammonia refrigeration. It was of course a big deal, as all those years ago the industry was very heavily male-dominated, however today far more women have become involved.
Recalling that time she said, “The course was very stressful and provoked the need for determination and perseverance. Although not easy, it was well worth the many hours of hard work that gained me a 100% pass mark in both the practical and theoretical sections of the five-week course.” Her career then brought her back to her training provider, where she has been presenting the training for the electrical portion of the ammonia diploma. Recently she was given the opportunity of promotion to technical director of the Open Trade Training Centre (OTTC).
One of OTTCs mottos is ‘Education is the best investment you’ll ever make’, and Penniston Sibiya echoes this statement. “For me, it’s really all about people, knowledge and trades. This trade is not something many people even know about – it’s almost always been kept in the background. How can we get more people to be making a living when they don’t even know a career like this exists? We need to build up our artisans in South Africa because we shouldn’t need to get ‘professionals in from Europe or America to come and service and fix our plants. We have all the resources we need locally and this is particularly what I aim to build on. Education is so important, and teaching people is something I have always enjoyed.”
Revealing a little about her hobbies and interests Penniston Sibiya loves the outdoors and is an avid hiker. Further she has a keen interest in scuba diving and frequently participates in this activity where she currently lives in the Western Cape.
Looking forward and essentially tasked with taking over the reins of the training centre, Penniston Sibiya has set herself many long-term objectives to take the centre forward with a renewed ‘young energy’ while she also notes that after several years she would like to look back and see growth and that she has done her best while applying her own important principles and standards of having passion in everything one does. “This opportunity, amongst others, will also enable me to be a part of the long-awaited OTTC Skills City Africa becoming a reality, and which the training centre will become a part of,” she concludes.