SKF South Africa invited mechanical engineering students from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) for a site visit at the organisation’s head office in Jet Park, Johannesburg, on 15 September 2023.
“Mechanical Engineering is a very important qualification in our particular industry, prompting us to reach out to UJ’s Mechanical Engineering Department,” explains Simphiwe Siwela, Territory Sales Manager at SKF, who championed this great initiative.
“Our objective in offering the site visit to the students, as the future leaders of our country, is to expand their product and industry knowledge and know-how by providing them with the unique opportunity to gain practical, first-hand insights into our products, technologies and operations.”
Upon arrival, the 22 students from the SAIMechE UJ APK Student Chapter were treated to a lunch while the Muslim students attended mid-day prayers. Following an induction video presented to all the students by Simphiwe, it was time for Eddie Martens, Product Manager – MaPro, to introduce the students to some of the innovative products in SKF’s comprehensive portfolio. In addition to sharing information such as elaborating on the different properties of grease, Eddie also provided a few practical demonstrations.
Then it was over to Micaela Willers, Product Manager – Power Transmission and Simphiwe who unpacked the world of bearings and couplings. Saien Rugdeo, Industrial Distribution Development & Regional Sales Manager, offered the students some valuable insight into how they can be even better engineers and what the requirements are for a successful job application at SKF following graduation.
The day fittingly concluded with an informative tour through the organisation’s workshops. Facilitated by Simphiwe together with respective Warehouse and Circular Economy Centre Managers, Amelia Cloete and Lourens Pretorius, the walk-though presented the students with a great opportunity to witness the company’s operations in real time.
Hlamekile Manana, Head of Events 2023, Mechanical Engineering Department, SAIMechE UJ APK Student Chapter, describes the site visit as a resounding success, with the students reporting that they found the events of the day very informative and educational. “The visit enabled our students to strengthen their knowledge and establish meaningful connections within industry. The engagement of our students was evident throughout the day as they immersed themselves in the world of bearings, seals, lubrication and lubrication systems, maintenance products, mechatronics, power transmission products, and condition monitoring systems. The valuable insights gained, the interactive workshops, and the informative presentations have left an indelible impression on our students. This experience has not only broadened their horizons but has also inspired them to explore career opportunities in this field.”
Hlamekile shares a few recommendations from the students: “Going forward, SKF can consider providing post-visit resources such as links to relevant articles, videos, or educational materials to reinforce what they learnt. This will also serve to stay connected with the visiting students by offering follow-up opportunities such as internships, mentorship programs, etc., as and when such opportunities arise in the company. By implementing these recommendations, the company can enhance its site visit experience that will benefit both the students and the company.”
Hlamekile adds, “We are immensely grateful to SKF for their warm hospitality and dedication to education and we look forward to continued collaboration and the opportunity to inspire future generations together. The initiative perfectly aligns with our mission – see the best, meet the best, be the best.”
“The students showed great excitement and enthusiasm from the moment they got to our site,” notes Simphiwe. “It was most encouraging to see all the students motivated from learning and gaining more insights into our organisation and a better understanding our operations in greater detail. Most of the students expressed how eager and exited they are of becoming part of the engineering industry in the near future.” He concludes: “The SKF team wishes the students all the best in their future careers and we hope that some of them will end up within our organisation; this would be simply great!”