Keabetswe Matolong is the national training manager for the Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa. She’s still new to the role, having only started in September, but she is a determined go-getter who tackles daunting tasks with absolute confidence.
These attributes will stand her in good stead as she works to fulfil her mandate, which is to increase the number of learners at the ECA(SA)’s training centres to meet the target set by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in order to address the shortage of electricians in South Africa.
Sparks: Where were you educated?
KM: I matriculated from Brebner High School in Bloemfontein and went on to complete a National B Tech Diploma (Office Management and Technology) at the Bloemfontein campus of Central University of Technology. I’m currently busy with a B Tech in Project Management at the Welkom Campus.
Sparks: How long have you been involved in the electrical industry?
KM: I started at the ECA(SA) in September so it hasn’t been very long!
Sparks: When and where did you start your career?
KM: I started my career in 2009 as an administrator at the Learnerships & Skills Unit at Goldfields TVET College in Welkom. I was promoted to senior administrator in 2013 and was in that position for two years. Towards the end of 2015, I started at Ekurhuleni East TVET College in KwaThema where I was head of department for occupational programmes. I was appointed as the national training manager at the ECA(SA) and started working at the Meadowdale head office on 12 September.
Sparks: What are the greatest changes you have seen over the years?
KM: On a personal level, I have grown as a person and every day I consciously work at reaching my full potential by achieving my goals and enriching my mind. Technologically, the past decade has seen amazing advancements and the internet has made information instantly accessible. While this does have its benefits, it has made some jobs redundant.
Sparks: What major projects have you worked on and what is your greatest accomplishment?
KM: It’s still early in my career so I haven’t worked on any major projects yet although I do believe that my job at the ECA(SA) will involve many major projects and this is very exciting and inspiring. So far, my greatest accomplishment has been the upward growth in my career – apart from my two qualifications.
Sparks: Who has been your inspiration or have you had a mentor who has influenced your career?
KM: I’ve been very fortunate to have had Freddie Bosiu, the business unit manager at Goldfields TET College in Welkom, as my mentor. He has given me career guidance and he has encouraged me to study further and to enhance my knowledge in terms of skills development in this country and abroad.
Sparks: What, to your mind, is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry at this time?
KM: The aging electrical infrastructure in the country is a something that must be addressed. Also, there is a shortage of artisans, which means that we must commit to encouraging young people to enter the electrical industry.
Sparks: What do you enjoy most about your job?
KM: I enjoy seeing the changes that come with skills development and enriching the minds of the youth while improving their skills. I especially enjoy working with people who are passionate about their work and who are committed to doing their best every day – and I relish every new challenge I have to face.
Sparks: How do you motivate your staff?
KM: I motivate them to do their absolute best at work and be innovative – and, most importantly, they should work as a team. I always try to lead by example and by being a team player myself.
Sparks: If you could ‘do it all again’, would you change anything? If so, what would that be?
KM: There isn’t anything I would want to change. Everything has happened the way I have imagined it and I am happy with that.
Sparks: Would you advise a person leaving school to enter the electrical industry? And why?
KM: There is a dire need for electricians in South Africa and I would advise them to enter this sector – and, once they’re qualified, I’d suggest they do a course in business administration and start their own electrical contracting businesses.
Sparks: What is your advice to electrical contractors and/or electrical engineers?
KM: My advice to electrical contractors is to maintain good record keeping at all times – and to hire personnel who will do this well so that the contractors will have more time to find new business.
Sparks: What is your favourite quote?
KM: “The only way you can be the best at something is to be the best you can be.” – Susan Beth Pfeffer.
Sparks: Name three things on your ‘bucket list’ (things you want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’).
KM: Three things on my bucket list are: To bungee jump from the Namaqua Bridge; to hike in the Drakensberg mountains; and to visit the Portuguese Islands off the coast of Mozambique.