Empowering South African youth on their journey to success

As a company dedicated to improving the lives of not only their staff, but their surrounding communities too, Exxaro is constantly looking for ways to make a difference. One of their initiatives is the Exxaro Bursary Programme, which provides South African youth with the opportunity to study a degree and obtain valuable work experience – with many candidates being offered full-time positions afterwards. 

Kyle Camden Naidoo had dreams of becoming an engineer, and after researching his options, he applied to the programme and was accepted. “Initiatives such as the Exxaro Bursary Programme promote career growth and development on an exponential scale. This initiative provides all the resources that are needed to benefit one’s career and self-development. I feel privileged to be a part of an organisation that values employees and encourages educational growth,” said Kyle when asked about the programme. 

“I went on to study for my dream job and obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town, graduating with a BSc. Eng. in Chemical Engineering (Hons.). After graduating, I took the next step with Exxaro and entered the PIT programme, where I gained valuable and vital experience and exposure from the various business units," he said. “Apart from the technical experience, it also exposed me to different cultures and work environments, which I believe helps an individual grow in their personal capacity as well as in their professional capacity,” he added. Kyle was fortunate enough to win the PIT symposium twice while in the programme, and this led to some incredible opportunities for him. “I was awarded with an overseas trip each time I won and got to travel to the USA, as well as a few countries in Europe. This was definitely the highlight of my PIT experience and one of the most memorable of all the moments shared in the programme.” 

He is now a metallurgical engineer at Grootegeluk Coal Mine, equipped with skills in problem-solving, process modelling and optimisation, continuous improvement, and project management. 

“Working in the quality- and efficiency-driven environment has also led to me developing multi-disciplinary skills which are necessary in implementing innovation initiatives, and also ensure that reporting of the highest standard is carried out at various levels in the organisation,” said Kyle. 

Kyle is continuing to make strides in his career at Exxaro and has been seconded to the GG6 expansion project commissioning team. 

“Commissioning a Brownfield's project has taught me valuable lessons in a variety of different fields, from electrical and mechanical to civil and plant design. It also teaches you to keep an open mind and be ready to expect anything. It’s been a great role to take on!” Kyle concluded. 

He has some wise advice for the youth of South Africa: “Always try your best and ensure your performance is of a high standard. If you feel there are gaps in your knowledge or experience, ensure that you make an effort to upskill yourself and close those gaps. Always keep an open mind and never assume that something cannot be solved; the solution is there, you just need to find it.”