DISCOVER Magazine #7

Estrolete Julies. Artisan Welder at Damen Shipyards Cape Town

Published in category: People

The confidence of Estrolete was highlighted recently, when, on 12 March 2014, she took part in the traditional keel-laying ceremony held at DSCT for an Azimuth Tractor Drive Tug 2909 being constructed for the South African Navy. During the ceremony Estrolete confidently welded a steel plaque, containing the yard number and project name onto the keel of the  in front of over 300 people; this just goes to show how confident this lady is with her chosen, traditionally male dominated, trade.

Meet Estrolete Julies, a 24-year-old artisan welder, one of eight women currently training through Damen Shipyard Cape Town’s Apprentice Training Centre. Estrolete is confident her chosen career path is the right one for her. When asked why she opted to become a welder, her reply is a straightforward “why not?” And why not indeed – it is, after all, her passion. “It was difficult to begin with,” she explains, “but I fell in love with it. It makes me a different person and I can challenge the guys!”

Damen Shipyards Cape Town, shipbuilding work, welders

Estrolete decided to become a welder when considering her after school opportunities. She was driven; she had goals and wanted to better herself. “Where I come from it’s difficult,” she says. And, as the eldest child in a family of five children, she wanted to set a good example to her siblings and to others like them. “Especially to the young girls who make all the wrong choices,” she explained. “Becoming an artisan will give me that opportunity.”

Estrolete thrives on delivering the quality required in her work. “You need perfection!” she enthuses. “It’s all about precision. Every weld should be your best weld.” Furthermore, Estrolete is satisfied that she chose to do her apprenticeship with Damen Shipyards Cape Town. “I would recommend Damen to anybody. I’m very happy being an apprentice here and I’m very grateful for all the support I get from Dederick (Dederick Ross, DSCT’s Training Officer, ed.). What Damen promises, it gives to you. What you make of it, is up to you.” Estrolete is clearly someone who knows her own mind, so it is perhaps unsurprising that she has a clear view of where she’s going.

I want to work my way up. In the future I’d like to be a welding inspector and I will succeed!

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