By: Nontobeko Moimane – 29 March 2023

Mr Ntsembo Mdaka- VUT Alumnus (Navy blazer) with the Chemical and Metallurgy Engineering staff members 

As a fresher at a university, the first few days may be daunting, but the Vaal University of Technology (VUT)’s new cohort of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering (CME), have a different tale to tell.

This follows a recent ‘Meet and Greet’ organized by the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering for all first year’s students within the department – the interactive session was held at the Desmond Tutu Great Hall.

The session aimed at rejuvenating and refreshing the first-year students of what is required from them as they are now part of the MaVUTi family.

In attendance: CME first year students

On the day, various speakers from the department and other key stakeholders including the Centre for Academic Development (CAD), shared pointers on what the future engineers needed to be aware of as they have chosen this field of study. Topics such as graduate attributes of being a Chemical and Metallurgical student, knowledge areas of engineering, registering with Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and progression rules were discussed with students.

Mr Ntsembo Mdaka, a VUT Alumnus was a special guest speaker for the session. In his talk, he emphasized  the importance of studying and enjoying the journey of being a student. He stated that students need to know their approach to learning, understating their strengths and weaknesses, being disciplined, willingness to help and being active both academically and socially.

He further added that within the industry, some students get work through referrals based on their activeness, participation, and discipline within this field. “To go up the ranks within the industry, you need to be flexible in learning other disciplines such as business-related studies,” he said, also urging students to get mentors from the university through to the industry and register with professional bodies.

In closing, Professor Iyiola Otunniyi from the department stated that the students need to learn enough to compete with others and be confident. He also encouraged them to take their studies seriously and be able to focus. “Hold on until the end, never give up… Target what you want to get and you will get it” he concluded.

Students had a chance to meet with the student structures; Soches (Society of Chemical Engineering Students) and METESSO (MEtallurgical Engineering Student SOciety) from the department and information was shared with them on how to join the structures.