From Farm Intern to Farm Supervisor
Returning to a very tight South African job market, World Poultry Foundation intern Sicelo Gamede lucked out in securing a supervisory position at Chiffon Estates, the mixed poultry/pig farm in South Africa where he started his poultry career. “I feel that my life isn’t at a standstill,” he exclaimed joyfully. Sicelo is also immensely proud to have built his own home with his US earnings.
The young South African is now supervising a team of ten, “Some of the people are older than my mom, and one is the same age as my gran,” he said. “I try to be professional every day, be respectful, and make sure the job gets done.”
Reflecting on his one-year internship in the US, Sicelo values the exposure he had to people from all walks of life. “The US farm experience improved my leadership skills; I mixed with people from around the world.” Asked about his US egg production experience, he brushed off the question and chuckled, “Oh, that’s in my genes, it comes naturally.”
Sicelo reports to farm owners Allan and Christina Immelman. They concur with the young South African’s take on the international experience. “The US technology is very automated, it doesn’t compare to our labor-intensive hands-on operation,” said Allan. “But the international experience is invaluable,” added his Kansas-born wife, commenting, “Sicelo matured a lot in the US. He’s a quick learner and a good communicator. He understands he has to continue to grow.” The couple is committed to helping Sicelo enhance his management skills. They are coaching him in his ability to extract information and maintain strict discipline across tasks.
“I started my career with the Immelmans,” says Sicelo. As to his rise from laborer to supervisor at the family farm, he says, “It’s a good thing, I feel good. This is a learning curve.”
Power to you, Sicelo and a nod to the Immelmans for their invaluable mentorship!