STAFF PROFILE: Nicoline Kgoedi
AN INSPIRING JOURNEY OF DEDICATION, LEARNING, AND EMPOWERMENT
Nicoline Kgoedi is a remarkable professional whose passion for engineering metallurgy, commitment to education, and unwavering determination have shaped her career at the Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW). From her humble beginnings in Naledi, Soweto, to becoming a respected technician and lecturer, Nicoline’s story is an inspiration to all aspiring professionals in the field.
A childhood rooted in determination and growth
Nicoline’s early years were spent in Naledi, Soweto before she relocated to Lawley in the south of Johannesburg. Here she spent most of her childhood, attending Kiasha Park Primary School and later South View High School. Her thirst for knowledge and a strong educational foundation led her to pursue a degree in engineering metallurgy at the University of Johannesburg.
Upon completing her tertiary education, Nicoline joined the SAIW in 2015 as a Laboratory Technician. She considers herself fortunate to have started her career in a laboratory that was situated within a training institute that offers diverse courses. This provided her with abundant opportunities to broaden her expertise beyond the confines of the lab. Nicoline’s natural eagerness to learn and her ‘teachable spirit’ propelled her to explore various certifications, including the International Welding Technologist (IWT) qualification and NDT Level 2
Bridging the gap between technical expertise and education
Nicoline currently serves two critical roles as a full-time technician and part-time lecturer, which allow her to leverage her extensive knowledge in material testing, welding, and inspection. Her ability to navigate both realms is a testament to her versatility and dedication to enhancing the welding industry. However, the transition into lecturing presented its own set of challenges.
Nicoline explains; “The lecturing position is both demanding and rewarding. The role requires extensive research and reading to proficiently present different course modules. It also demands the ability to transfer knowledge effectively, considering the diverse backgrounds and skill sets of the students.”
Despite these challenges, the benefits of lecturing, such as flexibility, lifelong learning, and the ability to ignite students’ passion while impacting their lives, make it a truly fulfilling occupation. As Nicoline emphasises, lecturing requires someone with a heart for the profession.
Overall, the welding industry is vast and holds immense potential for growth and progress. Nicoline recognises the SAIW as the premier institution in the field, capable of playing a significant role in the success of the fabrication and manufacturing sector. “Through a wide range of courses, SAIW produces highly skilled welders, competent inspectors, and professional technologists who can make a difference in the industry,” she says.
Nicoline also alludes to gender imbalance which has long been a concern in the welding industry and poses challenges for women in the field. However, technological advancements have ushered in a new era, offering solutions such as robotic welding. “Robotic welding has simplified and expedited the welding process, producing flawless welds without room for debate, unlike manual welding. While this technology has its limitations, it has undoubtedly opened doors for women in the welding industry, enabling them to thrive and excel,” she comments.
Looking ahead, Nicoline aims to empower future generations and contribute to the success of the welding industry, her story serves as a testament to the limitless potential within each of us.
As she says; “The lessons I have learned in life are that opportunities do not knock on your door too many times. Once the opportunity is presented, run for it and learn everything as you go along. This lesson stems from my university supervisor, the late Dr Katuku.
“My goal for the lecturing role and career evolution within SAIW is therefore developing my lecturing skills further, taking on new courses, lecturing on a full-time basis, and advancing my education even further.”