Previous job(s):

  • Process Engineer Trainee at SABMiller Group Technical.
  • Project Engineer at Continental China

About your current job:

How did you obtain your current position?

I was recruited as a process engineering trainee in SABMiller after I applied online, which required project and sustainable development work at various breweries in Africa such as Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia and several of our breweries in South Africa. After my traineeship I was hired as a process engineer in one of the largest breweries in the southern hemisphere.

In what way does your qualification relate to your work, whether directly or indirectly?

My qualification is critical to my work as a significant amount of my work requires technical knowledge of mass and energy balances, fluid dynamics and process design and control.

Indirectly, the social and communication skills developed at UCT have been extremely helpful

What are the key skills that have contributed to your success thus far?

  • Dedication and willingness to go the extra mile in order to get the job done.
  • Problem solving is essential.

What are your day-to-day activities?

A combination of problem solving, implementation of new projects and coming up with new ideas to increase brewery performance while focusing on water, energy and emissions reduction.

What are the best and most challenging parts of your job?

Best: As an advanced taster for the brewery I sit on a daily panel to ensure quality standards are achieved of our in process samples and packaged product. 

Most challenging: Implementing large projects while the brewery operates almost 24/7 through-out the year.

About your time at UCT:

How did your extra-curricular involvement while at UCT add value (transferable skills) to what you offer the world of work/your degree?

A significant amount. During my MSc research in the chemical engineering department I joined the UCT Brewing team and by the second year I was leading the team. This peaked my interest in brewing and gave me a leg up during interviews for SAB and SABMiller.

For those working/living abroad:

What are your key lessons on being successful when living and/or working abroad?

I spent a year working in Africa during my traineeship and an absolute must is to immerse yourself in the culture and try experience new things. Get out of your comfort zone; it is an exciting world out there.

How did you find/research the opportunity to work abroad?

It was part of the SABMiller Group Technical Process Engineering traineeship.

Advice to current students:

How best should students use their time at university to give themselves a competitive edge in your field?

Be unique, have a hobby, sport or interest that will separate you from everyone else. You do not have to be top of the class if you’re able to demonstrate passion and excellence in other areas of your life. UCT offers a spectacular range of clubs and sports. Find and join one that interests you.

In retrospect, what advice can you give to students about how to approach their own career development journeys?

Look far and wide and apply to as many different positions which may interest you. Many people branch out to different disciplines that are not entirely within the scope of their main studies.

Do you have any advice for a new graduate entering the world of work?

Prepare to put in the time and effort, don’t be afraid to take risks on new ideas or challenge the “status quo”. I have encountered many instances where nothing had been changed or improved because “that’s the way it has always been”, these are the areas of opportunity which can help you make your mark.