Having joined Hitachi Energy in 2020 as an engineer in training, Tshegofatso Monnamme is now a tender and quotation specialist for high voltage products at the organisation. Monnamme works closely with Hitachi’s equipment factories, ensuring customer requirements are met.
Tshegofatso Monnamme, tender and quotation specialist for high voltage products, Hitachi Energy
This Women’s Month, she shared with us what she loves most about working in the energy space, advice for women pursuing a career in the industry, and how Hitachi Energy is supporting women empowerment.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I hold a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering (Heavy Current) from the Vaal University of Technology and a BTech in Electrical Engineering (Heavy Current) from the University of Johannesburg.
I started working at Hitachi Energy in 2020 as an EIT (engineer in training). In October 2021, I got the opportunity to be interviewed for a permanent position and was hired. It has been a great honour to be part of such a prestigious organisation. Working with my manager, Confidence Mabulwana, who supports the team in all ways possible, has been amazing.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
My responsibilities include working closely with the factories that manufacture high voltage equipment to ensure all customer requirements with regard to requests for quotation are met. Moreover, my team and I work together to compile large and small tenders.
Our business unit is responsible for the sales of high voltage equipment manufactured by our various Hitachi Energy factories. Our sales team approaches customers in different regions to bring in business.
What do you love most about working in the energy sector?
Mostly we focus on selling and manufacturing protection equipment such as circuit breakers and surge arrestors, which is different to the power generation side of the energy sector. What I love about what we do in particular in terms of sales engineering is the fact that it is so diverse. I have exposure to both the sales and commercial sides, as well as the technical and engineering aspects.
What’s your favourite trend in the sector right now?
A really noticeable trend right now is that, compared to what it was like before, the sector is now much more open to empower women and afford them employment opportunities.
What do you see as the major challenges and opportunities ahead in the energy space?
There has been a slight improvement as far as transformation is concerned. I would definitely love to see more women being mentored and trained to occupy space in the engineering sphere and managerial positions. In addition, career expos – especially in underprivileged areas, so as to not only inspire young women, but to inspire young men as well. Women have so much to offer. I believe that, given the opportunity, they will conquer.
As a male-dominated sector, what are some of the barriers still limiting the participation and advancement of women in engineering? And how do we address them?
Having to look for in-service training and actually establishing myself in this field was extremely difficult. Some of the companies I applied to would overlook me and hire a male counterpart, although we held the same qualifications. That is when I was exposed to inequality in the industry. It is still a male-dominated space.
However, working for a company like Hitachi Energy has shown how important it is for women to pursue a career in this field because it advocates for equality and transformation which I personally think is a step in the right direction.
Where, do you believe, does the value lie in a diverse, inclusive work environment, particularly in terms of female representation?
While there is a trend towards empowering women, I also feel we need to ensure we have equal opportunities. Also, women need to occupy more managerial rungs of the ladder as opposed to the typical entry- or mid-level positions they are usually assigned to. I do feel like there is a definite gap in that space.
In terms of diversity, to be honest I think it is getting much better, as now in our organisation we have a lot of women. The percentage is really promising compared to what it was in the past. It also extends to including different cultures and backgrounds. This means we get to learn so much more from these women.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give to women pursuing a career in energy today?
I would tell them to go for it. They can achieve whatever they put their minds to. The future is female, and the future is now, it is our time to shine. I love working for a company striving to redress the injustices of the past and motivating women to solidify their place in this industry. Hitachi Energy is definitely what I would recommend to any upcoming engineer.
How is Hitachi Energy supporting and empowering women in the energy sector?
Hitachi Energy is an organisation that is working hard to create an environment whereby all employees become the best versions of themselves. In past years, the percentage of women working in such organisations was quite disappointing. However, Hitachi Energy has changed the narrative quite significantly by empowering females and targeting the development of women in leadership roles in the near future.
Do you have any pearls of wisdom to share this Women’s Month or words of encouragement?
In our sector especially, we really need to be receptive to learning more all of the time and also to explore different opportunities. As women, we sometimes limit ourselves by not wanting to enter fields that are too technical.
We have to be open to whatever comes our way. This will add to our skills and experience in the long run. It is our time as women to occupy such spaces. We need to stand together and support each other, because this is our future now, and we need to do something impactful.