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Celebrating the Trailblazers of Youth Month: Palesa Khathola and Isaac Mokoena Ignite a Brighter Energy Future

As South Africa embraces the spirit of Youth Month, we are thrilled to highlight the remarkable journeys and contributions of two exceptional young individuals within our organization, ROMPCO. In this article, we shine a spotlight on Palesa Khathola and Isaac Mokoena, who embody the resilience, talent, and determination of the youth in our country.

Youth Month holds a special place in South Africa’s calendar as we honor the sacrifices made by the youth in the historic struggle for quality education back on June 16, 1976. It serves as a poignant reminder of the power of young voices in shaping our nation’s future.

Today, as we face new challenges and opportunities, it is crucial to celebrate and uplift the youth who continue to drive change and progress.

Palesa and Isaac stand as inspiring examples of the capabilities and potential of our young workforce. They represent the spirit of innovation, adaptability, and determination that is essential in navigating the demanding corporate world and the evolving energy sector.

Meet Palesa, a trailblazing young professional whose dedication and commitment have made a significant impact within ROMPCO.

Q: Please share with us a brief background about yourself (Where are you from, your full job title at ROMPCO, and how long have you been with the company)?

A: I was born and raised in the Northwest Province, Mafikeng. I moved officially to Gauteng Province in 2014. I am a Receptionist at ROMPCO, and I’ve been working for the company for 7 months.

Q:  What does your daily role entail, and how do you think it fits into the overall strategy of the business?

A: My daily role entails taking care of the stakeholders both internally and externally. I am here to provide reception, administrative support and handle day-to-day tasks.

In addition to providing reception and administrative support, my daily role involves ensuring smooth communication flow, coordinating meetings and appointments, and managing correspondence. By efficiently handling these responsibilities, I contribute to the overall strategy of the business by ensuring effective communication, maintaining a professional image, and supporting the smooth operation of daily activities.

Q: In a demanding environment of the corporate world, how do you deal with or manage stress and always be able to perform exceptionally well in your role?

A: I calm myself down first and foremost, organize everything according to high priority, and try to multitask everything. I also believe in the power of effective time management and setting realistic goals. By breaking down big tasks into smaller, manageable steps, I can maintain focus and productivity.

Moreover, I make sure to prioritize self-care and well-being by practicing stress-relieving techniques, such as mindfulness exercises or taking short breaks when needed. Additionally, maintaining open communication with my team and seeking support, when necessary, allows me to effectively manage stress and perform exceptionally well in my role.

Q: June is regarded as Youth Month in South Africa, what does this mean to you?

A: It’s a month of remembrance that the youth back in 1976 protested peacefully against having Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in schools. Not only that, but they were also injured by the police officials for protesting something they did not want, and it was still implemented regardless of the lives lost and those that were injured.

Similar to what we see today with the youth. We have the Youth of South Africa protesting #FeesMustFall. June 2023 will mark eight years since the movement in 2015. Till today, the Youth of South Africa who protest peacefully, always get shot at with teargas and rubber bullets, injuring the innocent students for fighting against what they believe in.

Q: What changes would you like to see in our country regarding the high unemployment rate amongst the youth?

A: I would like to see the South African youth given a chance. To start, by removing the pre-requisite years of experience required by employers from the Youth to enter the workplace. This is one of the reasons that many South African youths are unemployed. They are sitting at home with skills, talent, and knowledge but due to lack of experience, they do not get hired. How will they acquire experience if they don’t get a chance to start their journeys?!

South African companies need to start hiring people based on their potential and take them in to develop their potential through training to add value to their companies. That way, every South African can get a chance to be employed in developmental roles, and the unemployment rate reduced over time.

Another change I would also like to see is for everyone who has reached their retirement age to step down and give the new generation a chance.

Q: What are the challenges facing the youth in the energy transition or oil and gas sector? How can we mitigate these challenges?

A: Challenges facing the youth in the energy transition include limited awareness and access to information about the energy sector, lack of relevant skills and training opportunities, and potential job displacement in traditional energy industries.

To achieve a successful energy transition, it is crucial to prioritize youth involvement by providing comprehensive education and training programs, promoting youth entrepreneurship and innovation, and creating supportive policies that prioritize sustainable and inclusive job creation. Collaborative efforts between governments, industries, and educational institutions are key to ensuring a smooth and equitable transition to a sustainable energy future.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in the oil and gas industry, and what steps did you take to enter this field?

A: What inspired me was the OPPORTUNITY. An opportunity to start my career in the professional world. I saw a starting point and a breakthrough from unemployment. An opportunity to start and learn something new in a different industry and see as time goes on how I fit in.

The steps that I took to enter the field were by submitting my CV to the relevant email that was posted together with the job role, I was interviewed, and I just gave it my all. I was just myself and honest about what I knew, what I did not know and all I hoped for was to be given a chance.

Q: What makes you proud to be ROMPCO?

A: What makes me proud to be ROMPCO is that it opened doors for new knowledge, bettering myself, and opportunities because as the company grows, I am also growing with it.

Now, let’s turn our attention to Isaac, another remarkable young individual who plays an integral role within ROMPCO. His passion, dedication, and contributions have made a significant impact on our organization.

Q: Please share with us a brief background about yourself (Where are you from, your full job title at ROMPCO, and how long you have been with the company)

A: I am from the Free State in a small town called Namahadi, Frankfort. My job title at ROMPCO is “Service Delivery Manager” and I have been with the company for 6 months.

Q: What does your daily role entail, and how do you think it fits into the overall strategy of the business?

A: I play an important role in improving the user experience by ensuring the smooth delivery of services that meet and exceed stakeholders’ demands. I am part of the Corporate Services department which makes us part of the support structures at ROMPCO.

Q: In a demanding environment of the corporate world, how do you deal with or manage stress and always be able to perform exceptionally well in your role?

A: The most important thing that I’ve learned was to prioritize work based on the severity of it. I believe that focusing on a single task at a time is much better than working on multiple tasks concurrently and failing to fully complete even a single task to the fullest of my ability.

Q: June is regarded as Youth Month in South Africa, what does this mean to you?

A: To me youth month is one special month where we pay tribute to the massacre of school children during the Soweto Uprising of 1976. Each year, June is a month where we recognize the struggles of the youth and celebrate the impact they brought to the liberation of our country.

Q: What changes would you like to see in our country regarding the high unemployment rate amongst the youth?

A: The most important aspect to look at, is the current state of our education system. I believe that the current curriculum does not put much focus on entrepreneurship or practical work experience at a young age. I believe that both the private and public sectors should create job opportunities for young people for them to gain experience and some will use that gained experience to create opportunities for others.

Q: How can a just energy transition be achieved?

A: A just energy transition can be achieved by ensuring fairness and equity throughout the process. This involves providing opportunities for affected communities, supporting workers in transitioning to new jobs, and prioritizing affordable and accessible clean energy solutions for all.

Q: What sparked your interest in the oil and gas industry, and how did you begin your career in this field?

A: The company needed a person who had vast experience in the implementation and support of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that the organization was in the process of rolling out and someone who knew dealing with stakeholder support and IT side of things.

Q: Can you share a significant milestone or accomplishment that you’ve achieved during your journey in the company so far?

A: I was part of the project team that was working on the preparation of rolling out the ERP system and was also involved in the Content Management System project that successfully went live.

Q: What challenges have you faced as a young professional in the oil and gas sector, and how have you overcome them?

A: The challenge that I initially faced was adapting to the new sector. I knew the ERP system that was being implemented and could provide IT support. I had to do more reading on the business processes and the value chain of the gas industry.

Q: How do you balance the demands of work with your personal growth and development as a young adult?

A: I am still in the process of mastering the art of balancing my personal and professional growth. The most important approach is to prioritize between the two so that neither is superior to the other.

Q: What makes you proud to be ROMPCO?

A: I am proud to be part of ROMPCO because it embodies a culture of excellence, innovation, and inclusivity. The company’s commitment to energy solutions and its role in driving the energy transition is truly inspiring. ROMPCO’s dedication to creating a supportive and empowering work environment, where diverse voices are valued and growth opportunities are abundant, makes me proud to be part of the team.

Additionally, the collaborative and dynamic nature of our work, coupled with the impactful projects we undertake internally and externally to ensure that the communities we operate in are uplifted and most importantly that the youth within those communities are empowered.

As we reflect on the inspiring journeys of Palesa and Isaac, we are reminded of the power and potential that lies within the youth. Their passion, determination, and innovative spirit serve as a driving force in propelling ROMPCO and the energy sector toward a sustainable future.

With their unwavering dedication, they are paving the way for a new era of progress and positive change. Let us continue to celebrate and support the remarkable young individuals who are shaping our world, for they are the catalysts of transformation and the architects of a brighter tomorrow.


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