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Variety, Diversity & Sustainability Ingrained in our Cultural DNA




Variety, Diversity & Sustainability

Ingrained in our Cultural DNA

Traditionally, integrating ‘People with Disabilities’ into the workplace has largely been done at corporate level. Sectors such as mining and

manufacturing are, as such, ‘conventional’ sectors which have, only in the past decade or so, recognised the necessity of integrating diversity within

their operations. This is largely due to safety and infrastructural challenges, a consequence of a historic deficit in legislative policies, as many mines

and manufacturing sites house their entire operation in one location.

Evolving with the times, many companies within these sectors have recognised the long term, inherent benefits of having a vested interest in

expanding their diversity. This, in essence, means it is paramount that diversity is brought to the forefront of any value proposition and ingrained into

a cultural DNA, to become part and parcel of a brand. When an authentic, inclusive culture is at work, it increases productivity, engagement and all

types of intelligence, which is often not seen in a homogenous workforce.

With a legacy spanning 92 years, the Robor Group is no stranger to

evolution. With roots firmly entrenched in the South African economy,

their commitment to Transformation is evident, as they strive to build

a culture which encourages transparency, variety and long-term

sustainability, as they attract diversity within the Group.

One of the fundamental principles of the Robor Group is safety.

All seven operations house both administrative and manufacturing

functions in one location. The principles of safety apply to all

employees, irrelevant of their job function being office or shop-floor


Integrating ‘People with Disabilities’, within Robor has been achieved

through addressing safety requirements in terms of effective evacuation

plans. When a position opens up that a ‘Person with a Disability’ may

apply for, a full assessment is conducted to evaluate environmental

accessibility. This includes which assistive tools and training would be

necessary to warrant job functionality and performance.

Such an evaluation brought about the successful placement of Pearl

Seakgele, who joined Robor Galvanizers, a fully owned Division of the

Robor Group, in February 2013 in the capacity of Receptionist. During

this time, she has effortlessly embedded herself in the company culture

and eagerly assists with any overflow work.

"Diversity should be at the forefront of any value proposition and ingrained into a

cultural DNA, becoming entrenched in any brand."

“My goal is to educate myself on all aspects of the business. Learning

the inner workings in other departments will expand my intellectual

capital and allow me to prove my potential, providing access to further

career opportunities”, says Pearl.

Describe the journey which ultimately brought you to work at

Robor Galvanizers.

It was 1992, when I was 16 years old, that I suffered a gunshot wound

and became a wheelchair user. Following intense rehabilitation, I

attended night school, thereafter, in 1994 completing my Matric.

Following that, I completed various courses through correspondence.

In 2004, I got my first job as a Receptionist at a company in Isando.

Following seven years of doing the same job, I realised my employer

had no intention of giving me the opportunity to advance my career.

It was communicated, more than once, although they were happy

with my performance, I should appreciate the job at hand. I was taken

aback that due to my impairment; their opinion was that I should have

no career aspirations. This led me to a three year stint in another

company under similar circumstances.

Were there challenges that needed to be addressed when

starting your position at Robor Galvanizers?

The group has gone out of their way to ensure an accessible

environment for me. Initially, they had to modify the reception area

slightly to accommodate my wheelchair. Aside from that, they built two

additional access ramps, one of which to accommodate evacuation

requirements. An additional benefit is a coffee and tea station, which

has been placed in my work area. In fact, a couple of months ago, they

went above and beyond their obligation as an employer, when they

purchased a new wheelchair for me.

How do you travel to and from work?

My husband mainly brings me to and from work. Otherwise I travel in a

lift club with a colleague.

What do you believe are the main challenges facing ‘People with

Disabilities’ gaining work or promotion thereafter?

I think, more often than not, it is an out of sight; out of mind situation

more than callous discrimination. ‘People with Disabilities’, through lack

of awareness, are not top of mind when a job vacancy opens up.

I think what hampers most ‘People with Disabilities’, in both gaining

employment and career advancement, is transportation. I am fortunate,

whereby my husband is available to transport me when and where

necessary. However, there are ‘People with Disabilities’ who do not

have such a support system, coupled with a limited budget, there is

often no other reliable alternative to get to and from work or meetings.

Taxi’s are an option, however, the drivers and other passengers get

extremely frustrated with the amount of time it takes for me to get into

the taxi, taking into account my wheelchair has to be safely stowed.

The Rea Vaya bus service adequately accommodates wheelchair

users; however, their routes are limited.

What is your five year goal?

I am determined to succeed professionally and have a clear plan in

place. When I started at Robor Galvanizers, I decided to give myself

one year to become accustomed my new environment. My immediate

goal is to learn to drive, then obtaining my driving license, which will go

a long way to giving me more independence.

In addition, achieving this will afford me more mobility, whereby I will

not have to rely on anyone for transport. My intention is to attend

night classes to further my studies. I believe that such an investment

in myself, with commitment, will more than equip me to move up the

corporate ladder within the Robor Group.

The Robor Group, over the past nine decades, has built a reputation

on quality products, a customer-centric philosophy and perfecting

service levels. The continued evolution of the Robor Group, as it

approaches its centenary, remains focussed on a Transforming South

Africa. “Embracing and integrating a diverse workforce provides the

Robor Group with an increased and varied pool of candidates, which

ultimately leverages our position in the marketplace. An important factor

in guaranteeing our future success and sustainability, is preparation,

which consequently provides a welcoming and accessible environment,

where everyone is valued as an individual”, asserts Rob Frans, Human

Resource Executive.

For more information

Tel: +27 11 971 1600


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