Sparks Electrical News

Angel Mkhomazi is the regional training officer at the ECA(SA)’s training centre in Meadowdale. She’s a qualified Installation Electrician and has been training artisans for the ECA for three years. Her bright outlook on life and her cheerful disposition make her a popular member of staff and a respected trainer.

Angel Mkhomazi sparks personality novemberThere isn’t one trainee who has gone through the ECA(SA)’s training centre in the past three years who would not remember that he or she passed through Angie’s capable hands.

She guides rather than pushes, encourages rather than belittles, and helps trainees to better themselves no matter the odds.

Sparks: Where were you educated?

AM: I matriculated at Eric Nxumalo High School in Bushbuckridge, Mpumulanga, in 1998 and then went on to study Electrical Engineering N5 at Ekurhuleni West College, graduating in 2003.

Sparks: How long have you been involved in the electrical industry?

AM: I’ve been in this industry for 12 years and have loved every minute of every day.

Sparks: When and where did you start your career?

AM: My career started in 2005 as an electrical apprentice with Group Five Plant and Equipment.

Sparks: What are the greatest changes you have seen over the years?

AM: For me, the greatest change is that women are now making their mark in this male-dominated industry, even though it’s not easy for some men to ‘digest’. I remember the first day that I and four other female apprentices went to the Group Five structural steel workshop – all the men stopped whatever they were busy with and stared at us as if we were aliens! You can just imagine how difficult it is for a traditional Zulu man to work virtually hand-in-hand with a woman.

Sparks: What major projects have you worked on and what is your greatest accomplishment?

AM: When I worked at Machas Electrical Services, I worked on a number of projects where I worked on the electrical reticulations as a supervisor: Barlow Park, Sandton; Shosholoza Meyl Junction (an eight-storey building in Braamfontein); the Tweefontein Community Clinic; Rebel Fruit and Veg Market in Benoni; and Rochester Furniture store in the Mall@Reds. Every trainee who leaves our training centre knowing more than when they arrived is a success story to my way of thinking.

Sparks: Who has been your inspiration or have you had a mentor who has influenced your career?

AM: Mr Carlos Neves at Group Five became my ‘second father’. I will always be grateful for his mentorship. When I went to Group Five, I knew nothing about electricity and he took me under his wing and nurtured me along my career path. His unfailing guidance helped me to become a better electrician and taught me how to survive in this male-dominated industry. He wasn’t an easy person to work with but he brought out the best in me – I’ll never forget him or what he did for me.

Sparks: What, to your mind, is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry at this time?

AM: There is a serious lack of skilled labour and there are not enough trained artisans coming into the industry to address this shortage. The younger generation doesn’t seem to realise that there’s more to being an electrician – they can go into building management or be an electrician on a filmset and travel the world. There are great possibilities for qualified electricians out there.

Sparks: What do you enjoy most about your job?

AM: It’s very fulfilling to train people and see them grow day by day. Making a difference in my students’ career paths, that’s what I enjoy the most.

Sparks: If you could ‘do it all again’, would you change anything? If so, what would that be?

AM: I wouldn’t change anything. I love what I’m doing and, given the chance, would make the same choices.

Sparks: Would you advise a person leaving school to enter the electrical industry? And why?

AM: Yes, I would advise youngsters who have matriculated with maths and science to become electricians. The whole world is highly dependent on electricity, so by extension, the world is dependent on electricians in order for cities, towns and villages to be functional. And as more and more electrical technologies are invented and implemented, the need for electricians will continue to rise.

Sparks: What is your advice to electrical contractors and/or electrical engineers?

AM: I would say, to hire people who are smarter and more talented than you are. This will be the solution for any micro-management problems that you may have because you can trust them to handle any assignments on their own without your supervision. This gives you more time to focus on growing your contractor business plus you’ll learn a whole lot from them along the way.

Sparks: What is your favourite quote?

AM: “Success isn’t about how much money you make ... it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” – Michelle Obama.

Sparks: Name three things on your ‘bucket list’ (things you want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’).

AM: Three thing on my bucket list are: to get my Master Installation Electrician qualification; to build a shelter for homeless children; and to go skydiving.


Contact Sparks Electrical News

Title: Editor
Name: Gregg Cocking
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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Name: Carin Hannay
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108