Simone Leeuw, who matriculated from Fairvale Secondary School and grew up in Wentworth, South Durban, an area known for its many socio-economic challenges is an inspiration to many in her community.
“My personal philosophy is happiness and success are your choice,” says Simone. “You can’t go through life waiting to see if you’re going to make it, if you’re going to succeed or if you’re going to be happy. You must choose these paths intentionally, daily, and consistently.”
From an early age, Simone showed great aptitude for maths and science, which spurred her interest in engineering.
“A great help was the Engen Maths and Science School (EMSS) programme that I attended from grade 10-12. It was held every Saturday morning at Fairvale Secondary School and gave me free supplementary lessons that provided challenging content and really pushed me to think more critically.”
Today, after securing a full bursary from Engen, Simone is a proud Bachelor of Science (Electronic Engineering) graduate of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Her advice to other young South Africans is “Don’t give up!”
“I really believe that a winner is just a loser who was brave enough to try one more time. Too often we give up at the first encounter of adversity, whereas if we just kept working at it, we’d know that it can be done.”
Hailing from a single parent home, Simone’s admiration for her mother, a sole breadwinner for two children, is apparent.
“I’ve always wanted more for myself and my family, and despite many challenges faced, my home life has always been happy, and my family continues to support and inspire me to reach my dreams,” she adds.
After graduating in 2019, Simone joined Engen’s Graduate Development Programme, and currently works in the Advanced Process Control Department at the Engen Refinery in Durban.
Simone says, as a recent graduate, entering the programme amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, has been challenging. “Despite this, the programme has been so informative and exciting, with everyone trying their best to find interesting means and ways of passing on knowledge through daily virtual interaction.
“Engen has played a major role in my choice of career path as well as in helping me obtain my degree. I really appreciate their assistance and admire the company’s culture and beliefs – they really put their best effort into growing people skills.”
Engen is passionate about building future leaders. By continuing to grow the minds and talents of the future, the company is committed to shaping the careers of young gifted South Africans.
Simone has her eyes fixed upon becoming such an individual by living a fulfilled life and conquering each challenge as well as finding joy and success.