Youth Month is special as it provides an opportunity to reflect on the importance of helping young gifted South Africans explore new horizons and reach for the stars. Nokubonga Ngqulunga, a young chemical engineer is one of many whose horizons have broadened thanks to Engen.
Reflecting on the significance of 16 June in our country’s history, Nokubonga’s advises the country’s youth to “own” their education: “We grow and learn by the amount that we involve ourselves in, and invest in, the process. Hard work is a pre-requisite to unlocking success.”
Nokubonga grew up in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal and matriculated from Estcourt High School. She then moved to Gauteng to attend the University of Johannesburg where she graduated with a B-Tech Chemical Engineering degree.
As a middle child with two sisters, Nokubonga was raised by her mother, a single parent who understood the value of education. “My mom made sure that all of us attended school and did well academically. From a young age I looked up to and admired my mom, she truly is a superwoman.”
This focus on education and a desire to excel led her to the Engen Maths and Science School at Howard Campus from grade 10.
“I had my first stepping stone when I was afforded the opportunity to attend Engen’s extra classes in maths, science. I attended supplementary classes every Saturday for three years until I matriculated. The EMSS classes really assisted with exam preparation and work progress.”
After school, Nokubonga was awarded a full bursary from Engen to study at tertiary level.
“Education was always a priority in our household,” reflects Nokubonga, “and I think that is why I have never stopped pursuing my studies. I was to attain a BEng (Hons) qualification next and gain as much work experience in different areas of business as possible.”
As of May, this year, Nokubonga is a proud Engen Graduate Trainee and works at the Engen Lubricants Blending Plant in Durban. “It’s only been a month but I have already learnt so much and I’m looking forward to gaining more experience.”
So, what is Nokubonga’s secret to success?
“I believe that anything and everything is possible if you put in the hard work and believe in yourself. Having a mentor, who is aligned with your life goal is also a good idea as it helps to ensure that your dreams are realistic and achievable.
“I motivate myself by always trying to remember the bigger picture and what I want to achieve. It may sound like a cliché but there is nothing more powerful than setting realistic goals and being passionate enough to achieve it.”
By continuing to attract and grow minds and talents like Nokubonga, and to shape the careers of talented graduates, Engen continues on its path shape the future for the better. Helping young gifted South Africans explore new horizons proves once again that as a company, Engen is committed to building tomorrow’s leaders.