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Bearing the sweet fruit of perseverance

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Phakamile Skosana Supplied by Transnet. Phakamile Skosana

Phakamile Skosana well on his way towards achieving his dream of becoming a Chief Marine Engineering Officer

January 24, 2020

Staff reporter

Port Elizabeth, South Africa:Having shown extreme perseverance and determination, Phakamile Skosana is well on his way towards achieving his dream of becoming a Chief Marine Engineering Officer at Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) Port of Ngqura. His motto “I can” continues to drive him to achieve his ultimate milestone.

Humble beginnings

Phakamile started his career as a General Worker at Triton Express, a logistics solutions company in PE. His tenacity and love for operations soon became evident when he helped with admin duties in his spare time.

This opened doors for him when he successfully applied for a Data Capturing position. He once again went beyond his call of duty by assisting the operations department in his spare time - loading and offloading trucks and checking parcels for collection and delivery. He successfully applied for a Zone Controller position and climbed the ladder to Operations Supervisor, Senior Operations Supervisor and Operations Manager, before leaving for TNPA in 2013.

Creating solutions

“I joined TNPA as a Marine Shorehand as I loved the company values and it offered a great platform to the career path I aspired to. Little did I know the trying road ahead.

"I registered and completed the required Mechanical Engineering subjects at the PE TVET College, as I began my journey towards my Marine Engineering Officer dream. I continued my self-funded fulltime studies at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) as I did not get a bursary. I had to be very creative to fit in both shift work in PE and fulltime studies in Cape Town,” Phakamile said.

He had to attend class on Wednesday mornings in Cape Town, while expected to work the 14:00 to 22:00 shift in PE on the same day. He swapped shifts with a colleague and worked on Tuesdays from 06:00 to 14:00, taking a bus after work to Cape Town to arrive there the next morning in time for his Wednesday morning assessments.

He again rushed to the airport after his assessments to catch the 11:30 flight back to PE to start work in time for his 14:00 to 22:00 shift on Wednesdays. He continued this rigorous routine for almost a year. Due to his outstanding academic performance, including three distinctions, he was awarded a Transnet bursary.

Phakamile has just completed his exams, after which he will attend ancillary courses including Safety training, Pre-sea training, PSSR (Personal Safety & Social Responsibility), Personal Surviving Techniques, Medical First Aid and Firefighting, followed by practical experience at sea. He will do workshops and then write an exam with SASMA (South African Maritime Safety Authority), which will enable him to receive a Marine Engineering Certificate of Competency (COC).

Shoot for the stars

Phakamile’s current position of Marine Shorehand entails assisting with the docking and sailing of vessels, including the supply of fresh water. His career highlights include being part of the firefighting team who competed at the national Transnet Annual Safety Competition recently, being awarded for the “Best Health and Safety Improvement Idea” in 2018 and his academic achievements. He believes that his strengths are being accountable and a team player. Phakamile’s advice is, “Aim and shoot for your goal, never doubt yourself.”

He was born and raised in Red Location, New Brighton. He matriculated at Hillside Secondary School in Port Elizabeth.