I moved to Ireland from Johannesburg in late March, arriving just as the country went into lockdown. My fiancée and I were due to travel together but, as talk of international travel restrictions grew, I decided to move my flight forward for fear of not being able to start my new job with Roughan & O’Donovan (ROD). My fiancée decided he would stay behind to tie up some loose ends before taking our scheduled flight. Unfortunately, all flights out of South Africa were grounded before he could travel, and now he is in Johannesburg while I am alone here in Dublin – our dream of starting an exciting new life together ‘temporarily’ on hold.
My first two weeks in Dublin were spent self-isolating in a hastily secured Air B&B. It was a lonely time. Since then, I have found my own place and started work at ROD. While any new job brings with it a certain amount of anxiety: you are trying to learn quickly, to fit in and contribute, and to figure out how things work, starting a new job during a global pandemic adds another layer of complexity. I have yet to meet any of my new colleagues, I am remote working for the first time in my life and the term ‘social distancing’ couldn’t feel any more real to me.
The support I have received from ROD has been incredible, however. The transition to remote working has been made easy for me, and I have been interacting with my colleagues through social tea breaks. Every week we have a team bonding session, with a ‘Minister of Fun’ appointed to arrange an enjoyable activity for everyone. It has been a great boost to team morale.
Before relocating to Dublin, I spent nine years working as an environmental practitioner in the utilities environment, and my experience in the electricity industry extends across the entire project life cycle. I was responsible for ensuring an uninterrupted essential service in South Africa’s Gauteng province, including obtaining the necessary licenses to construct and maintain distribution (132kV and below) electrical infrastructure. As maintenance activities on the electrical cable network often triggered environmental legislative thresholds, emergency applications had to be made on a 24/7 basis. I was also responsible for conducting environmental compliance audits on site during construction, which allowed me to develop my technical skills.
I am a qualified ISO 14001: 2015 Environmental Management Systems lead auditor, with experience in overcoming social and political challenges. I have also worked closely with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to ensure the protection of wildlife by managing the refurbishment of aging infrastructure to prevent the collision and electrocution of endangered wildlife species.
A strong proponent of environmental stewardship, I completed a BSc in Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Johannesburg, graduating top of my class. I subsequently undertook a BSc honours degree in environmental management at the University of South Africa.