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Mine project takes staff member from labourer to boilermaker

Murray & Roberts Cementation is excited to announce that its Venetia Underground Project (VUP) project has produced its first boilermaker.

Thibi Jerry Phala has just completed his apprenticeship, which he began in 2019 after joining Murray Roberts Cementation a few years earlier as an engineering assistant. Phala says he has been passionate about engineering since he was a child.

“Being part of Murray & Roberts Cementation’s VUP project inspired me to apply for an apprenticeship with the company. Working with our experienced boilermakers – and being exposed to various engineering activities – really motivated me to develop my skills further in this field,” he says.

Skill earned

The journey so far has included learning the skills of a plater – handling thick metal plates – as well as understanding steel structures, drawing and design. The apprenticeship involved studying boilermaking theory at Harmony Engineering Training Centre in Orkney for three years. The practical aspect of the apprenticeship was done on the VUP site, where experienced artisans supervised and mentored Jerry for 11 months. This achievement is only the beginning, he says.

“I am planning to continue working hard and gaining more experience in this important occupation. This will give me a good starting point to work towards becoming an engineer,” says Jerry.

He urges any person with ambition to look seriously at the engineering field for a career – and to pursue this goal with commitment, hard work and resilience.

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