Exploring All Surfaces: From Underground To The Office

Exploring all surfaces: From underground to the office.

Arnot Opco is positioning itself to be the future employer of choice for those seeking to break into the mining industry. The coal miner is creating opportunities for young people, women and other previously marginalised groups. One such person is the company’s buyer, Boikarabelo Monene. The 32-year-old is a qualified mechanical engineer (Fitting). But, she has since swopped her overalls for a deadline-driven office role. Born and bred in Lephalale, Monene is now based in Witbank. She talks about why she made a career change from engineering to supply chain management.

You made the change from the field to the office. Tells us why?

I initially studied mechanical Engineering(Fitting), and later realised that I did not really like it. I am more of an office person, and so I decided to pursue a job that would allow for that. Before joining Arnot Opco, I was at Exxaro for 10 years. I knew when I changed my career path that people were going to question my decision. But, I am where my heart needs to be, and I’m enjoying every moment. I then studied office administration, which led me to Supply Chain. I’m enjoying this work so much that I am currently studying towards a Diploma in Supply Chain.

You have been at Arnot Opco since August 2020, what do you like about working at the company?

It challenges me. I’m very privileged to be part of re-opening the mine. The biggest highlight has been meeting new people, mostly young people blazing the trail in mining. It has been amazing.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I want to finish my qualification in Supply Chain. Then my next goal is to become a contract’s specialist.

What’s the most interesting thing about your job?

Working with people and being challenged every day. It is fast-paced and requires critical thinking. The work is deadline driven, which can be fun and stressful at the same time.

As a woman working in the mining sector, what more do you believe should be done to open up the sector to other women?

By giving more women opportunities and training, nothing is impossible honestly. It is also important to make sure they have the right resources and adequate PPE. Especially those who are working underground. I’ve done it all. From overalls and spanners, to working in my own office. I’m living proof that women can become whatever they want to become.