National Institute of Transport (NIT) prides itself for supporting their students to become work-ready graduates.
They do this by helping them gain vital experience and acquire and develop skills they need for their success as they move on to enjoy their chosen careers.
One of those students is NIT former student Razack Kasanga, one of the ‘work-ready graduates’ who joined the Car and General Trading Ltd company in June 18, 2018 as Assembly Supervisor.
Razack joined the company as a fresh graduate from NIT with zero experience, but the company trusted him and gave him the supervisory role, where he was charged with supervising a team of 22 technicians.
Our Sunday News reporter caught up with Razack recently, where he went through his days at the NIT until now, here are the excerpts of his interview.
Question: How would you summarize your career at Car and General Trading Ltd?
Answer: I’m currently working as a Zonal Sales Leader here at Car and General Trading Ltd; I also have experience in Workshop Management, Assembly Production and Field service activities.
I was employed in this company in June 18, 2018 as Assembly Supervisor. I joined as a fresh graduate from NIT possessing zero experience, but the company trusted me and gave me the supervisory role where I handled a team of 22 technicians.
Eight months later, I was promoted to Workshop Supervisor. I worked in this position for one year, before I was again promoted to Service Manager role, which involves managing workshop operations and field service activities (field service team).
It didn’t take long for me to be promoted again, where I was shifted to Sales, my current role in the company, as a Zonal Sales Leader. The company trusted me, saw the potential in me which could help in the contribution to the continued company success.
It was not hard for me to shift from Engineering to -Sales and Management roles. When you grow in work, the company demands more from you and assign you bigger roles in the company. I took the changes positively and I was ready to shift my mind, now I am enjoying working as a Sales Manager, at the same time helping the team to perform the company’s objectives while also developing their professions.
The technical knowledge, skills and engineering management I got from NIT helped me to perform well in every stage and in every task assigned to me.
In the zone I manage, with zero sales experience, with just 11 months, sale has grown from 1 per cent market share to 23 per cent, making it the leading growing zone in the company.
Now I have become one of the best sales leaders in the company, a mentor to other zones, and I have been doing induction programs to new employees in both technical and sales knowledge, while I also coach the staff on customer loyalty programs.
Q: What did you study at NIT?
A: At NIT, I did a Bachelor Degree in Automobile Engineering ‘Level 8’ from 2013 to 2017.
Q: Why did you choose that course as your career path of study?
A: When I was doing secondary education, I took science subjects. At that time my dream was to be a pilot or an engineer, this drove me to take PGM (Physics, Geography, Mathematics) in A-level studies.
My dreams were much relating to Transport Engineering and Aviation studies, that is why I first chose NIT to study Bachelor Degree in Automobile Engineering. My choice was due to many reasons; one was that I believed it will easily take me to where I want to be in automotive industry.
In NIT, there are different programs which are related to Transportation, Logistics, Aviation and Importation. This made me have a thought of going to NIT to start my career as an engineer, for which I have achieved my goal and acquired extra knowledge and skills due to interaction in other courses which helped me in mechanical productivity and staff management.
Q: How have you stayed connected to the NIT’s alumni network?
A: In 2013, when joining NIT, there were no good learning infrastructures like what students see today.
There were fewer classes, no good library, no good hall, shortage of staff offices and teachers.
The changes started happening when we were just joining the Institute, they were happening so fast, the Institute image was changing, the transformation we saw was really amazing, it made us feel proud and feel like a part of the Institute transformation.
We had real affection and passion for our Institute.
This made us to be loyal to the Institute, loyal to each other as students, even after completing our studies.
We support each other on employment opportunities, we have WhatsApp groups where we closely communicate and see what our NIT is doing.
We connect and follow each other through LinkedIn platforms and other social media outlets.
The new infrastructures, the new courses, the government news relating to our Institute are all being followed and discussed.
For those already employed, we try to recommend NIT students for employment opportunities,
We recommend to our managers confidently as we know how competent NIT students are.
This is how I and other NIT’s alumni keep connected.
Q: What advice do you have for the next generation who have a dream of becoming automotive engineers?
A: One of the fastest growing industries in the country is automotive industry. Automobile production is increasing, the automotive design and technology is being developed day after day.
My advice for them is that the industry is big with many potentials, there are so many opportunities in automotive industry, so they should not limit themselves on learning and trying new things, they should not limit themselves on thinking beyond as the industry technology is changing every day.
Q: What else are you passionate about? What drives you at work, at home, in your community?
A: One thing that I’m passionate about is mentoring and coaching/training others. I’m someone who likes to share what I know, help and support others to grow and be successful.
At work I enjoy working with leaders who recognize me, trust me and give me exposure and ones who want me to grow to the next level of leadership. That’s exactly what Car and General offers me here.
I fortunately have support from the management, HODs’ and the team that helps motivate me and encourage me to do better at what I do.
At home I like spending time with friends, sharing ideas, going out, travelling, having fun and eating. This makes me happy.
In my community, I enjoy helping people, giving them advice and supporting them to solve their challenges.
Q: What is your advice to the National Institute of Transport in increasing women enrollment in engineering courses?
A: To take reference from my company!
At Car and General, we have 2W and 3W Conveyor Assembly line, more than 90 per cent of the available technicians working on the assembly production are women. They produce the products with best quality. They themselves go for test rides, doing PDI and check product quality. They work with discipline and high integrity.
This shows that if they are given chances, they will give out the required productivity to any duties assigned.
My advice to NIT
The Institute needs to start making schemes of reaching students in secondary schools, give them an overview of the engineering courses and their opportunities, encouraging them to apply for engineering programs, giving them the chance to know the number of engineering courses they can apply and study, this will open their minds and give them more options in fulfilling their dreams.
Testimonies from women who are engineers and technicians will help them to build their confidence and inspire them to study engineering courses.
The Institute needs to start identifying companies which are related to programs provided and creating a good relationship with different companies and organizations, sharing with them the engineering courses they are providing, then asking them to consider females in their employment vacancies.
These two things will help to increase women enrollment in engineering courses.