A pioneer and role model

August 2019 News

There is a serious shortage of women in engineering. Globally it is a male dominated field. According to ECSA, only 11% of the total number of engineers registered are female and only 4% of these are professional engineers. AVK production foreman, Portia Magongoma is making a difference and inspiring other women to pursue careers in engineering.

Portia Magongoma
Portia Magongoma

Magongoma has a Bachelor of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering and recently graduated with a BA in Business Administration. She also has a National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering, a Certificate in Operations Management, and is a trained forklift operator. A registered member of ECSA, this mother of two says: “It is possible to have both a successful career and a family.”

As a newly qualified engineer, Magongoma’s first job was on-site at a platinum mine. “I was young, female, on my first job, having to give instructions to older, experienced men on a mine,” she says. She recalls how language was the biggest barrier. They spoke Tswana and Afrikaans while she spoke Zulu and English. “I was giving instructions and discussing safety protocols – the message had to be perfectly clear.” So she learned the languages.

When Magongoma moved to AVK Valves she was far more experienced and had gained confidence. “AVK Valves has been incredibly supportive of me and my vision,” she says. AVK Valves funded her Business Administration degree and she’s looking forward to giving back to the company through her new knowledge and expertise and inspiring other women to follow their dreams. “Some people think women can’t do this and can’t do that,” she says. “AVK Valves and Gunric never had those stereotypes. Women can do anything.”

As the first one in her family to graduate from university, Magongoma is incredibly proud to be where she is. “I will teach my children that anything is possible if you are committed. Yes, there are challenges, but the key to success is to know what you want and focus on the goal rather than the obstacles.”

Magongoma’s vision doesn’t end there. She was drawn to engineering because of its diversity. “I want to be an expert in valves – every aspect from design to production to quality assurance. I love working with my hands and really enjoyed my time on the shop floor.” Now she has her sights set on bigger things. “I have combined engineering with business administration and management because I want to know everything there is to know about valves and the business of valves – from the engineering to HR, to labour law and finances – all of it. The only thing that convinces people that they can reach their impossible goals is to see a role model actually doing it.” Magongoma has high hopes for the future. With her energy, passion and dedication, she is set to be a pioneer in the engineering industry.

For more information contact Sayuri Naidoo, AVK Southern Africa, +27 11 908 3760,,

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