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Dr Bernadette Sunjka –  Head of the Industrial Engineering Stream within the School of Mechanical, Industrial & Aeronautical Engineering – University of Witwatersrand

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to Dr Bernadette Sunjka, who heads up the Industrial Engineering Stream within the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Witwatersrand. Engineering is one of the four STEM subjects that contribute towards innovation and development and Dr Sunjka emphasises applications of industrial engineering to help students solve research problems, particularly in the small to medium enterprise (SME) sector. For example, improving the efficiency of poultry farmers; helping SME businesses contract sustainably with fast moving consumer goods companies; and evaluating the hydrogen supply chain in the energy sector.

In a country, like South Africa, with the official unemployment rate exceeding 40%, entrepreneurship is a means of creating livelihoods and shifts the narrative from job seekers to job creators. Yet, the biggest constraint to entrepreneurs is financial resources.

Dr. Sunjka shares some of her views on education (beyond pure knowledge gain), extending to developing self-confidence, enabling graduates to have choices to plot their career trajectories, to learn transferrable skills and apply these skills to various contexts for dynamic careers. She reminds people to believe in themselves and have the courage to find and pursue their purpose. Tune in for more…

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