By Samkelwa Xaba

Oftentimes students find themselves in a position where they do not have the knowledge or information to accelerate their careers earlier on in the refrigeration and air-conditioning industry.

In my last article I introduced Ester Gladys Gwemba through a brief background, and who has offered to give some students advice on the matter of their careers. In this article she responds to the two questions posed to her through the previous article published in the RACA Journal.

Noxolo Dube’s question to the mentor was:

Job marketing is the hardest. How does one go about preparing and proving that you are worthy, or the best candidate for that position you are after, especially knowing that I will be competing amongst many men for the same opportunity?

Advice from the mentor:

Being a female in this highly competitive industry, job marketing can be quite a challenging task where the reality is that women do not only face the wage gap scenario, but they also have to compete with men.

No job should be considered a position in which only a man can excel, and companies firstly need to recognise this more. With that being said, the advice I can offer on this question posed by the student would be that:

As a female, your approach to any interview should be different, strategic and being well-prepared is essential to demonstrate your understanding of the job role.

Being confident in yourself is as important. Try to connect with the person or people involved during your interview – after all, your experience will market itself for you.

Don’t be shy to show your qualifications, skills, and talents. You have worked as hard as anyone else to achieve what you have, so be proud of this.

Speak genuinely about what you admire about this industry.

Most importantly, do your research – research on the company, what the company does, the types of clients they have, and so on.

Shela Mashiangako’s question to the mentor was:

This is really an industry career worth pursuing. What advice do you have as to how to escalate a career going forward, so I can reach a level of being a great service engineer?

Advice from the mentor:

As a woman, building a career in any field – be it engineering or refrigeration – could appear to be challenging and intimidating in a male-dominated industry. Fortunately, there is an increase in funding and resources from both government and private companies that are encouraging more young women to build a career in this particular industry. So, the best advice I could give you in this regard would be:

Make sure that you network with other females who have been in this industry. This is a means of support and ideas.

Belong to a community so you can broaden your overall skills and thinking.

You have to always be willing to learn – this includes new ways of doing things, and any additional studies or courses you can participate in.