South Africa’s First Female Shipbuilder

Unfinished Ship

Young Bonteheuwel Woman Becomes SA’s First Female Ship Builder

At Link Ship Chandlers we love sharing inspiring stories, which is why we were beyond excited to learn that South Africa’s newest shipbuilder is a young woman. Candra Shanice Pedro (26) from Bonteheuwel in Cape Town matriculated from Spes Bona Technical High School in 2010 and then studied engineering sciences. She was set on the course to her shipbuilding qualification when she happened upon an advertisement for an apprenticeship at a local dockyard.

“I’ve been involved in shipbuilding for 6 years. I started my apprenticeship in 2013 and only recently qualified. I’ve been in the technical field since high school. While shipbuilding wasn’t the initial field I was interested in, I answered an advertisement for an apprenticeship that was placed by a dockyard and went for the interview. It was during this interview that it was suggested that I try my hand at shipbuilding. Once they informed me what this would entail, I kind of fell in love with it and just went with it,” explains Chandra Shanice.

“Once you pass your apprenticeship they take you to various workshops, where you cover different aspects of the shipbuilding. For instance, one of the workshops they take you to is called boathouse. There you do your joining, fibre-glassing, everything to do with wood. There is also the submariner’s workshop, where you do your submarine courses; and the shipwright workshop where you do all your plating and steelwork. There is also a welding course that teaches you gas welding, arc welding, etc., exposing you to all the welding purposes. Additionally, you spend time in a lab learning about the materials that are used to construct vessels; and a labour engineering facility where you are taught drawing, AutoCAD and the rest of it.”

“This qualification is exciting because it allows me to go to work anywhere in the world. My day-to-day experience is also nice and varied – it all depends on where they send me. I might be headed to a metal workshop where I have to cut or weld, or to the wood workshop where I have to make joints or fit decking for a ship. I definitely want to continue in this field. I want to do marine engineering and continue into naval architecture because I love drawing. I’ve done the hands-on part and I believe this will stand me in good stead when I go into the designing field,” the 26-year-old enthuses.

How inspiring is this story? We’ll be keeping a close eye on Chandra Shanice’s progress as she paves the way for other young women to join her in this traditionally male-dominated field. For more exciting freight-related news and info from inside the Link Ship Chandlers camp and around the globe, keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks and months. We bring you the latest shipping and freight news as it becomes available.

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