VUT safety management students visit national power utility’s local facilities for practical application of safety measures within industrial settings
By: Themba Nyovane – 11 October 2023
Recently, the national power utility, Eskom’s Lethabo Power Station in Sedibeng, played hosts to the Vaal University of Technology (VUT)’s cohort of Safety Management students who embarked on an educational visit to the facility.
During the visit, which proved to be profoundly enlightening for the students, they were pampered with frank, real-world insights into the practical application of safety measures within industrial settings.
This eye-opening and educational field trip was made possible by efforts of Safety Management lecturer at VUT, Mr. Gerrie Castelyn along colleagues within the Department of Legal Services. The aim – to bridge the gap between practical industry experience and the day-to-day academic theoretical knowledge that students get exposed to in the classroom.
Among the lucky students who benefitted from this enriching experience was Relebohile Masiu, a first-year student who hails from Rustenburg in the North-West Province. Sharing her firsthand experiences and observations, Relebohile said “I was privileged to be selected for this field trip – an opportunity which allowed me to immerse myself in the authentic world of work, aligning seamlessly with the concepts I am studying. The visit acquainted us with the intricacies of safety within the industrial domain. I found that most of my expectations were not only met but exceeded – thanks to the informative presentations and the guided tour of the plant.”
These visits extend beyond the classroom, serving as a bridge between theoretical knowledge and the practical implementation of safety protocols, regulations, and standards. They provide students with a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between theory and real-world challenges, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the skills they will require in their future roles as safety management professionals.
Masiu passionately emphasizes how her experience at the Eskom plant broadened her perception and understanding of safety’s significance within the workplace. She recognizes that her qualification opens doors to diverse roles, extending beyond traditional safety officers’ duties. She aptly points out that safety encompasses more than mere inspections, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) enforcement, and checklist completion. “Effective communication and strong people skills are indispensable when collaborating with diverse teams, ensuring that everyone comprehends the nature of their work and how to mitigate risks associated with the hazards they may encounter,” she added.
Moreover, Masiu believes that such experiences can be a wellspring of inspiration for fellow students, offering them the opportunity to lay a robust foundation for their future careers as safety professionals. She commends the University and Eskom for their worthy initiative in facilitating these educational excursions, underscoring the institutions’ commitment to nurturing the next generation of safety experts.
In closing, Relebohile reflects on her newfound clarity about her potential career path, stating, “Now that I have grasped the possibilities that come with this diploma, I have a clearer vision for my role within the safety industry. I confidently assert that I can seamlessly integrate into organizational cultures and contribute meaningfully to the field.”