MechChem Africa

Upskilling the engineers of tomorrow is the main aim of an internship programme offered by Rio-Carb, a leading manufacturer of R-C700 CrC wear liners and pipes for heavy materials-handling applications in the mining and allied resources industries.

University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) BSc Mechanical Engineering student Uma Krige has just completed a six-week internship programme at the Alberton manufacturer. “Our aim is to make a meaningful contribution to the development of the industry by upskilling the engineers of tomorrow,” director Martin Maine comments.

bsc mechanical engineering student uma krigeUma Krige at work in the Rio-Carb workshop

Top achiever Krige impressed Rio-Carb due to her notable academic achievements to date and leadership qualities. The six-week internship gave her invaluable exposure to both production and business processes, in the company of experienced engineers.

“Rio-Carb is essentially a one-stop shop where interns can learn everything from CAD design to actual engineering production. This is a hands-on, real-life learning environment that gives tertiary students much-needed practical experience,” Maine explains.

Krige stresses that the exposure to a broad-ranging production environment such as at Rio-Carb is rounding her theoretical training at Wits. Apart from being able to see processes such as plasma cutting, welding, grinding, drilling, and sheet-forming first-hand in a highly-automated and bespoke facility, she has also attended client site visits, and even sat in on sales and production meetings.

While it is challenging being a woman in her chosen career path, Krige adds that companies such as Rio-Carb are helping to challenge the status quo in this male-dominated industry. Maine says that promising students such as Krige will be offered an opportunity for full-time employment upon successful completion of their studies.

“We also plan to expand our internship programme in the near future, as this represents a significant investment on the part of Rio-Carb in the future of both the industry and the company,” Maine concludes.

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