Once again, Dolphin Bay is hosting a CPUT student for a year of practical experience. "This is the fourth time we are offering placements," says Bertus Coetzee. "Young people have an important role to play in the industry and will make a huge contribution in years to come. But they face high levels of unemployment and too few opportunities to get the necessary experience to equip them for the workplace. This is where we can step in and add value to our society. We feel we have a responsibility as a company to actively invest in our country's future, but it is also a privilege to be able to transfer some of our knowledge and expose the students to practical training on the operational side of the business."
In 2013, two chemical engineering students completed their practical semesters at Dolphin Bay. This year's student, an analytical chemist, will work closely with our chemical lab manager, Navi Moodley, who also coordinates the in-house training programme.
"We make an effort to give the students a well-rounded experience," says Navi. "We consider each student's thesis as well as the practical work they need to focus on. Along with the theory and practice, they learn about the technical and operational side of our industry, as well as business procedures, work ethics and customer service. It's a great learning opportunity for them, but it's also helpful for us: when you teach others you refresh key principles and deepen your own knowledge at the same time."
"The students who come to us know their way around a lab. They shadow me closely at the start and are then given their own assignments as they develop skill and confidence. We give them a lot of input: an introductory course, handouts and information on the application of what they are learning. At the end of the their time with us we provide the university with an assessment of their technical ability, communication skills, punctuality and so on."
"I enjoy working with students and I think they find this first employment experience interesting and stimulating. It's gratifying to know that some decide to study further and others go on to secure good jobs. We are always willing to help educate, because that makes a difference in people's lives."