From the streets with a signpost to gainful employment at ABB

When a kind stranger took a photograph of Momelezi Sifumba standing at a busy roadside with a cardboard sign stating: ‘Help Me to Find a Job’ and posted it on LinkedIn, little did the unemployed graduate know it would catch the attention of none other than Graham Abrahams, Senior Vice President, Electrification at ABB, who would change the course of the young man’s life. Graham’s commitment to youth development and Momelezi’s unwavering determination aligned perfectly, leading to a life-changing opportunity.

ABB
Momelezi Sifumba Associate Project Engineer in the Electrification Business Area

Momelezi’s journey at ABB Electrification has continued with his recent appointment as an Associate Project Engineer. He is using his technical expertise, collaboration, and problem-solving skills to contribute to electrification and energy system projects, ensuring safety and quality.

Having graduated with a BTech in Electrical Engineering (Power Systems) in 2018, Momelezi was unable to find employment in his chosen field, even after knocking on the doors of various companies. His remarkable journey, from seeking employment on the streets to securing a permanent role at ABB, exemplifies the company’s dedication to nurturing talent and providing opportunities for career growth.

“Despite constant rejection, I maintained my hunger for success, knowing that all I needed was an opportunity to prove myself,” says Momelezi. This resilience captured the attention of Graham, who emphasises the importance of youth development, stating that “businesses have a responsibility to help develop our youth.” ABB is committed to providing practical training and mentorship opportunities.

Starting out as a Tester Trainee in May 2022, Momelezi supported Test Engineers before transitioning to the Design department, where he contributed significantly to designing MV air insulated switchgear, demonstrating his technical skills and adaptability.

Under Graham’s guidance, Momelezi has rotated through various departments to gain well-rounded practical experience. With such support, Momelezi aspires to assume a leadership role at ABB and eventually become a mentor to other deserving youth.

Momelezi’s internal training included being part of a project to design a new product, which involved technology transfer from ABB India to ABB South Africa. This product in now sold in the South African market. In his role as Associate Project Engineer, Momelezi works on basic design, testing and commissioning of ABB MV switchgear.

His story is a beacon of hope for other young graduates facing similar challenges, inspiring them to persevere and seize opportunities for growth and success. “As a youth, it is essential to keep knocking on doors and trust in the timing of opportunities. Persistence, patience and hard work are the key elements to success,” says Momelezi.

“I am happy to see Momelezi succeeding,” adds Graham. “He has an uncommon drive. After three months in the test section, I remember him asking me if he could move to another area, as he wanted to learn and experience more, and it was like this for the next 15 months. When he started, I told him that now he had been afforded this opportunity, it was up to him, and he has responded well. Momelezi’s attitude is fantastic, and if he continues like this, he will end up being very successful,” concludes Graham.

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