The six students who have joined the Nedbank Group Enterprise Development 360°Plumber Programme more than two years ago are now heading toward the last nine months before they qualify.

Left to right: Brevynn Coetzee (Nedbank Procurement), Thabiso Thabane (Student), Pabalelo Chuene (Student), Thandolwenkosi Mtshali (Student), Ricardo Schroeder (Nedbank Assessment), Goodenough Mthembu (Student), Hector Ramano (Student), Mackdonald Nthelebovu (Student), Debbie Donaldson (because YOU’RE worth it, Program Facilitator). Image supplied by Plumbing Africa | Rory Macnamara

Nedbank Insurance, through Nedbank Group Enterprise Development, is funding these young students.

Plumbing Africa Journal, joined by Brevynn Coetzee from Nedbank Procurement, Ricardo Schroeder from Nedbank Assessment, and programme facilitator Debbie Donaldson, paid them a visit to find out more about their experiences.

Ricardo emphasised that the goal of the 360° programme is to develop black-owned businesses from start to finish, including forming these youngsters into entrepreneurs.

With the development of plumbing technology, the changing landscape of water conservation, and the focus on the energy use and health of the population, this group of youngsters appreciates the tremendous responsibility on their shoulders. “After chatting to them, one had a feeling of great pride. They are so grateful for this opportunity and the role that they will play in the future. With a foundation made possible by Nedbank, they have grown to realise that they are heading towards a great future,” says Ricardo.

The students acknowledged the support that they have received from qualified plumbers during on-the-job training. The plumbers were professional and took their responsibility to guide and teach the students seriously. All the students agreed that learning about health and safety compliance was essential.

In addition, in February 2023 Electrolux presented the well-established benchmark course about geyser installation to students from Gauteng and the Vaal. Thandolwenkosi, the only woman in the group, says that women often must prove themselves in the industry and that she has enjoyed the training a lot.

The discussion moved to challenges and heights and sticking one’s arm down a drainpipe not knowing what one might find came out top. They all agreed that safety and having the right gear are non-negotiables. Doing roof installations are particularly dangerous, but with proper protection and the correct safety gear one can minimise accidents.

In conclusion the students appreciated the fact that, once they have qualified, they must go out to educate and encourage others and contribute to uplifting the community.