DEVELOPING YOUNG TALENT - THE SHOSHOLOZA GRADUATE PROGRAMME
The sky's the limit thanks to the Air Liquide Shosholoza Graduate Programme
Sydney Muzoka, now IBO Project Manager for integrated Bulk Operations at Air Liquide Head Office in Alrode, says Air Liquide’s Shosholoza Graduate Programme has paved the way to career opportunities he might never have enjoyed otherwise.
The Shosholoza Graduate Programme is a rotational programme which gives graduates from various engineering disciplines an opportunity to join the Air Liquide, world class working environment, where they can discover their strengths and opportunities for further career development.
For Muzoka, a Chemical Engineering graduate, the two years of rotation through the various departments has helped him identify the areas he wants to focus on, and has also given him skills he would never have gained at university. “At university, the work is very theoretical. On the ground and in the plants, you discover so much more - it’s about budgets, juggling deadlines, human impacts and collaboration. This is an invaluable experience,” says Muzoka.
Muzoka’s first encounter with Air Liquide was at a career day at university in 2014. He was accepted as a VAC Work Student at the end of 2014 and enjoyed the experience so much that he returned to work through his vacation at the end of 2015 too. “The company culture was great, and the exposure was amazing. I thought – Air Liquide is a great place to be,” says Muzoka.
After graduation, Muzoka spent a year focusing on another of his interests – technical development in the logistics sector – before applying to participate in Air Liquide’s Shosholoza Graduate Programme. Having rotated through the various departments, he found his niche in the plant: “It’s at the forefront of operations, and where things happen,” says Muzoka.
But Muzoka also learned that the Air Liquide culture is to encourage graduates to grow into positions that apply their individual skills and strengths, so he is now harnessing his technical and digital experience in work on the IBO project to digitise bulk operations. He is enthusiastic about the potential of this project to roll out into countries across Africa in the future. “Because Air Liquide is a multinational, I now have the opportunity to work with, and learn from, experts from around the world,” says Muzoka.
These opportunities have come as a direct result of the Air Liquide Shosholoza Graduate Programme and the company’s culture of empowering employees, he believes. “You are given the opportunity to move in any direction that suits you, and you have the company’s full support. Plus, the work itself is very fulfilling, particularly now during the COVID-19 crisis, where our team has been working tirelessly to supply hospitals with essential oxygen.”