A steely determination to succeed coupled with the unwavering support of his employer have enabled I&J electrician Ashley Bosch to build the career he wants.
The refrigeration plant at I&J’s fresh fish processing plant in Cape Town is cavernous and as neat as a pin. Against the constant rumble of huge compressors, a small team of skilled technicians ensures that the vital machinery is properly maintained and operating efficiently. One of the technicians responsible for the smooth running of the refrigeration plant is Ashley Bosch, who this year marks 20 years of employment with I&J.
What makes Ashley’s story remarkable is that he began his career as a cleaner and spent his early years with I&J working as a general worker, responsible for moving heavy bins of fish and ice in the factory. Today, Ashley is a fully qualified fitter and electrician, experienced in the operation and maintenance of a wide range of fish processing machinery – from electronic scales and graders to vacuum packing machinery – and competent to help run the technologically complex refrigeration plant.
While working as a general worker, Ashley felt the need to improve his education and develop his career. He began by attending evening classes at a technical high school. This was the start of his work towards a National Certificate (N4) qualification in Engineering Studies. He achieved the qualification in 2010 and a year later he passed his trade test and qualified as a mechanical fitter. Just two months later he was back at college, starting electrical practical training with a view to eventually qualifying as an electrician.
While he steadily worked towards achieving the required standards in his practical training, Ashley continued working as a fitter, gaining valuable exposure to the machinery in the I&J Primary Processing Factory. He has extensive experience with skinning, filleting and packaging equipment, as well as the operation and maintenance of graders, conveyors and electronic scales.
In 2016, after four years of study and practical training, Ashley qualified as an electrician. He continued to work as a fitter, but in 2018 a vacancy for an electrician opened up in the factory and Ashley got the job. In his new role, Ashley was required to rapidly familiarise himself with the machinery in the refrigeration plant, an area of the factory he had very little previous experience of.
“It wasn’t easy,” he admits. “Sometimes I would go home, do my research and think about how I could do better the following day.”
Ashley is grateful for the opportunities he has been given to advance his career.
I’m privileged to work for I&J,” he reflects. “On my journey, the company has always supported me 100 percent and any opportunity that came my way, I grabbed with both hands and made the best of it.”
As an experienced member of the technical team working in I&J’s Primary Processing Factory, Ashley is excited to share his knowledge and experience with the apprentices who complete their practical training at the plant. He takes the role of teacher seriously, even going so far as to prepare the apprentices ahead of their trade tests. But Ashley also spends time motivating young technicians in his workplace.
“What I’ve done, anyone can do,” he says candidly. “There’s nothing special about me. You must have the determination and the dedication and once you set your mind to something, do it. Even if it’s tough. If it’s easy, everyone would have done it, but because it’s tough, do it.”