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Rising Star Interview Construction & Engineering

Energy in Engineering embark on new explorations that put my endurance to the test and prepare me for future unknown challenges.” Toussaint maintains that talent management has been a neglected discipline for many years. “Even now, it remains a space clouded by human resources administration, as opposed to human inspiration,” she says. “It is essential to promote alternative approaches to engaging employees. In most organisations our human capital is the most important of all the resources that need to be directed and engaged to fulfil the organisation’s mission. Celebrating the young leaders is a good starting

match of understanding between HR practitioners and engineering professionals. “As a starting point, HR practitioners need to broaden their perspective and see their function beyond administrative duties as talent developers,” she says. “Demanding as it may be, they need to understand not only the nature of people working in their organisation, but also the nature of the work that is required.” Toussaint believes that it is the role of HR practitioners to assess whether people hired and work offered are a good match. “Only then will talent love what they do

“It is essential to promote alternative approaches to engaging employees. In most organisations our human capital is the most important of all the resources that need to be directed and engaged to fulfil the organisation’s mission” point for engaging practitioners in the talent management space around conversations of transformation. It all starts with a vision.”

Wiebke Toussaint 2014 Rising Star - Service: Public & Private Wiebke Toussaint is Founder and CEO of Engineers Without Borders – South Africa (EWB-SA), a non-profit organisation that provides communities and communitybased organisations with access to engineering skills and technologies, to improve the quality of life of their members in a sustainable manner. She is also a former winner of the Rising Star award in the public and private service sector, and is passionate about her chosen career.

From an industry perspective, Toussaint feels that not enough is being done to effect change in the broader talent development environment. “At EWB-SA, we envision an engineering sector where people can live their passion, unfold their potential and work with compassion,” she explains. “Currently, this is not the case. The generation, gender and cultural borders are particularly strongly defined in the engineering sector – an aging, white-male dominated profession that is struggling to demonstrate relevance to an increasingly diverse stream of incoming engineers. Yet, engineers are the drivers of development and are central to creating a prosperous South African nation. Talent retention and

“It all starts with a vision” “Energy and enlightenment, education and empowerment, exploration and endurance – these are the elements that have shaped my life,” says Toussaint. “Energy is my essence and drives my vibrant approach to engineering. Education is my passion, forming the foundation of my desire to empower people and make a difference in Africa through Engineers Without Borders South Africa. Curiosity motivates me to

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development in the engineering sector should be a critical agenda item to ensure that South Africans continue to have access to water, electricity, excellent road infrastructure, rail networks, ports, telecommunications, etc. in 2030.” Toussaint maintains that there exists a great mismatch of expectations between industry and students, and a great mis-

Rising Star Annual 1st Edition

and stay,” she says. “On the matter of expectations, companies should stop selling golden eggs and making promises they cannot keep. Be real – you won’t be able to hide it later!” She also says that on the flipside, students and graduates need to inform themselves better of the industries they are planning to work within – remove the shutters and start engaging. “EWB-SA has positioned itself in the middle of the expectationsdilemma,” she says. “We challenge our members to be real about the work they may get into, connect students to fresh graduates to share experiences and provide a community of young people in similar situations to find collective solutions to frustrations. Knowing that you’re not alone goes a long way when learning to manage your expectations.” Toussaint suggests that the situation could be improved in a number of ways. “Firstly, employee retention rates should be a key performance indicator for HR practitioners,” she says. “Secondly, graduates should be seen as ‘free talent’ and assigned their own cost centre, thus seen as value-add rather than profit drain. Lastly, talented individuals need to have a ‘one up’ mentor – their manager’s manager – and should take on a mentee – mentorship can only be understood when experienced in both directions.”

Profile for Rising Star Annual

Risingstar annual 2016  

Featuring CEO Write ups and profiles of previous rising Stars

Risingstar annual 2016  

Featuring CEO Write ups and profiles of previous rising Stars

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