From a student beneficiary to colleague
Portia Sibanyoni was awarded a bursary by the GladAfrica Foundation in 2016 to pursue her passion
in electrical engineering. She has a BSc (Eng.) degree in Electrical Engineering from the University
of Witwatersrand. Portia, who is currently employed as an intern electrical engineer at the company,
is also registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) as a candidate engineer.
We sat down with Portia recently to find out about her journey with GladAfrica.
Describe your journey at GladAfrica and how the company has assisted you in realising your vision?
GladAfrica Group has made my vision of becoming an electrical engineer a reality when they granted
me a bursary after I completed Grade 12 in 2016. It especially helped that I was afforded an opportunity
to work at GladAfrica Group and PLP Africa Group during my school holidays. I managed to gain
real-life experience and get clarity on the world of electrical engineering. GladAfrica Group has not
only financed my studies but also provided me with support through mentorships to help me succeed
in my career so far. With the support that I received from the company, my school and family, I have
pulled through all the difficulties of my academic journey and I obtained my degree in four years.
What projects have you been involved in since you started working for the company as an intern?
I started working at GladAfrica in January 2020 as an electrical engineering intern. I was
appointed to work full-time on a hospital assessments project. I conducted site investigations
and exam design drawings, amongst other things. I assessed the condition of electrical equipment and
installations at the various hospitals, and compiled conditional assessment reports for compliance
I was site-based and travelled throughout South Africa, which was a great experience. However, the
project was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and ground to a halt for a few months. I used the
time during lockdown to familiarise myself with the early stages of the design work in the project.
Thankfully, we resumed our assessment work for hospitals a few months ago, although under strict
What are your observations of GladAfrica Group?
I plan to be registered as a Professional Engineer with ECSA in the next three to five years.
GladAfrica Group is one of the fastest growing black-owned consultancy firms in South Africa, delivering
services in the built environment and I am proud to be part of the team. It also offers opportunities
for goal-driven learners from disadvantaged backgrounds to access the bursary programme, of
which I was a beneficiary. This programme greatly shapes the future of many learners – and South
Africa at large. The growth of the company means the creation of job opportunities and the provision
of excellent quality services to clients. It is a brand that I believe in and one for which I am proud to
be of service.