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January 2021

Louise Kunz, Pula Imvula contributor. Send an email to louise@infoworks.biz  

The Bloemfontein office is moving to Pretoria in December and activities for the training courses and schools programme will be arranged from the head office in Pretoria in future. However, if you attended one of Grain SA’s training sessions during 2013 to 2020, you unknowingly met with the organisational skills of Sam Ruiters (39), the training administrator at Grain SA’s Bloemfontein office. 

Sam ensured that these classes went off without a hitch and she loved every minute of her job. Unfortunately this mother of three was not able to relocate to the head office and had to hand over her duties to someone else.

For Sam coordinating the schools programme and training courses across the country has been wonderful. The courses are arranged through the study groups with Sam as the facilitators’ right-hand woman. Her behind the scenes undoubtedly influenced the sessions and her administrative and organisational skills contributed to its success.

Grain SA initiates these courses to equip developing farmers with the necessary knowledge to become better farmers. As Oprah Winfrey said: ‘If you know better, you do better’. Courses include information regarding basic maize production, irrigation, calibration, workshop tools, basic engine repair and even a tractor’s driver course to name just a few. 

Sam says she has always been hardworking and precise in whatever she does. According to her planning and time management were the key factors to ensure that the training courses and schools programme could run smoothly. ‘If the material is not ready and on time, the trainer can’t continue with the sessions – especially with so many of the remote rural areas being without the luxury of electricity.’ 

The highlight of her time at Grain SA is that her work contributes to the advancement of agricultural knowledge amongst school children and the skills development of developing farmers. The fact that she played a part in increasing the number of courses over the years from 150 to more than 500 delights her. 

‘I realise now that if I could successfully organise more than 500 courses, I can do anything I set my mind to.’ This is why she has made the decision to study next year and take on an 18-month online diploma in human resources. ‘Although it is daunting, I am sure that I will persevere.’

She wants to thank everyone who enriched her life while she was part of the Grain SA Farmer Development team. ‘I have to say a special thank you to Willie Kotzé (the former operations manager of the Farmer Development Programme) who really made me believe in myself and encouraged me whenever I needed support.’.

Bloemfontein has been Sam’s home from a young age and she matriculated in 1999 at Heatherdale Comprehensive Secondary School. After school she filled a few temporary positions before joining Absa where she worked for five years. 

To gain more experience she decided to apply for another position at Services Seta, an organisation whose primary function is to facilitate skills development through learning programmes. ‘I gained a lot of experience and really developed my skills here as I was exposed to several industries from hairdressing to funeral services!’ 

Problems at the company had Sam looking for a new challenge. She was fortunate to be employed at Grain SA where she could once again be involved in facilitating skills development through learning programmes. ‘Leaving Grain SA wasn’t part of my plan. I intended to stay here until I retired, but unfortunately our plans do not always work out the way we want them to,’ Sam shares. 

If she looks back at her years as training administrator, she feels proud of the systems she put into place to make the work of the trainers and facilitators simpler. ‘I worked hard to get a system that works well so that I could help the facilitators and trainers.’

Although she feels sad about the end of this chapter, she is excited about the one ahead and believes in staying positive. ‘I felt very emotional when I received the news in August about the office moving, but I have realised that God can only work if I have peace about my circumstances. I am depending on Him for a new door to open.’

To Sam, her time at Grain SA developed her human knowledge immensely over the years. She also realised that she is an organiser at heart with good communication skills. With these skills and a willingness to develop and learn more, Sam believes that her next job will be just as wonderful as the one she is now leaving behind.

Kalpana Chawla, the first woman of Indian origin to go to space said: ‘The path from dream to reality does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on to it, and the perseverance to follow it.’ May your dreams come true, Sam!

Publication: January 2021

Section: Pula/Imvula