Confidence Tshilande is a Graduate Engineer at Aurecon. She completed her Bachelors of Civil Engineering at the University of Johannesburg and has been working at Aurecon full-time for two years.
Confidence has always been interested in providing solutions that can enhance the lives of people in South Africa and when she joined Aurecon, she quickly became involved in Aurecon’s Corporate Social Responsibility projects.
“Each year, Aurecon gets involved in the Tuangana Africa STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) expo and we host high school girls from across rural South Africa and Zambia to teach them about STEM careers. Last year I was privileged to give a presentation about my own journey, coming from a disadvantaged background and pursuing a career as an engineer. This was such a rewarding experience for me because I received letters from the girls saying how inspired they were after my talk. Some of them even said that they are considering a career in the STEM field after hearing about my journey and the opportunities that are available in the industry,” says Confidence.
“When you start working at Aurecon, you get exposed to so many different disciplines within Civil Engineering. I came to realise that you can’t be an expert in every field – there’s just too much to learn! I really zoned in on geotechnical work. I found geotech intriguing because no two projects are alike. I get to work with other disciplines within Civil Engineering such as structures, water and transport, but I’m really finding my niche within the geotechnical services,” says Confidence.
Engineering requires hard work, perseverance, sacrifice, studying, and continuous learning. Of equal importance is the love for what you are doing or learning to do. Confidence’s advice to anyone studying engineering or a similar technical qualification is to constantly challenge themselves to “think out of the box”, always explore new ideas and seek to challenge the “status quo”. You are the driver of your career, so be pro-active, be engaged, be open to learning and be confident.
One of the things that Confidence enjoys the most about her job is continuous research and learning.
“Because each project presents a new challenge, it often happens that nobody has come up with a solution for a particular problem yet! This is what gets me excited because I get to research what has worked in the past, engage with senior people and experts in the industry and come up with new ways to bring a client’s idea to life. This is what keeps me inspired on a daily basis. I’ve learned to be able to abandon my preconceived notions on how a problem should be solved and become bold enough to try new things,” concludes Confidence.