in loco fellows blog series #9: At school it’s just the basics. The real learning is on site by doing
My name is Ntina (Peter) Makhetha. I am a 2017 Construction Management graduate. I first knew about rise’s in loco fellowship program in mid-2018 from one of my ex-tertiary colleagues who was one of the fellows in the first pilot program. Immediately after graduating we were all over the place looking for jobs. By the time I got to know about the opportunity applications were already closed. I saw how the in loco program gave them not only on site experience, but also the business training sessions turning them from being jobs seekers into job creators. I couldn’t wait for the recruitment of the second cohort so I followed rise on social media to be updated about second in loco fellowship applications.
Fast forward mid-2019 a post was published, I couldn’t miss it as I had been waiting for it, I applied and got lucky and was admitted. August came, we began our 6-month fellowship with my first ever experience, the participatory design workshop of the IDAL project, which was all about designing involving the client to understand and cater for their needs into the design. Within that 2 weeks workshop I took part in the Quantity Surveying Team, doing the Bills of Quantities. I learned more about teamwork as we had to work hand in hand with the design team and understand their drawings.
Later we went to site, for the commencement of the construction phase, as a Site Manager, it was such a huge opportunity and exposure to have taken a lead in the execution of a timber structure from its foundations to the top. Amongst all, the most critical tasks that I got my hands dirty on was setting out, excavation, levelling, reinforcement, concreting, raising up the pillars and roof trusses which are the major structural elements of the project. As the in loco program is about learning by doing, I switched roles 3rd month into the fellowship and took on the Events Coordinator. role I wanted to improve my soft skills, especially my communication skills and be a confident public speaker which I managed to strengthen and now it’s safe enough to say I’m way better than before I joined in loco 2019.
At the moment I’m working as a Plant and Logistics Manager as well as a Quality Control Officer. I did learn a lot of things in a short time. I learned more than I anticipated, multitasking and working under pressure. Many thanks to rise through its in loco program for all the valuable experience and entrepreneurship skills which has enable me to start developing my own Construction Company.