From Zim to UK streets and - finally aircraft engineer

By: 
UK Media

A MAN who came to Britain aged just 16, with no family, job or home, has landed an engineering job with GE Aviation after graduating from the University of South Wales (USW).

Wayne Kwenda, 24, found himself living on the streets in London when he arrived in Britain, but graduated with a first-class honours degree in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering in July.

Mr Kwenda, who lives in Abercarn, said: “I came to the UK as a minor and was placed in care.

“I was placed in supported semi-independent living where I shared the house with another young person being looked after by Lewisham Council.”

With some support and encouragement, Mr Kwenda enrolled at a London college studying aerospace engineering, then aircraft maintenance engineering at a London university. But he dropped out after two years:

After working as a support worker he reapplied to USW and never looked back.

He said: “I liked USW. It was a good fit. Their engagement was very good and they had good links with industry leaders such as British Airways and GE Aviation.

“Two of my former lecturers worked as aircraft engineers at GE Aviation. One of whom helped me to get a work experience placement which eventually led to me getting a job there.”

For Mr Kwenda the move to GE Aviation means he’s landed his dream job, having wanted to be an engineer since the age of five.

He said: “My dad was an engineer and I always wanted to be like him, but I also wanted to go above and beyond his achievements.

“He is a skilled electrical engineer and always let me play with his tools, fixing the house iron, kettle, toaster or even the cooker. I think the drive comes from him.”

The road from the street to care , through university to employment has happened by Mr Kwenda doing “one small simple thing towards achieving your goal every day”.

Giving inspiration to other learners, he said: “You’ve got to surround yourself with the right people. You’ve got to surround yourself with the right inspiration.

“But it won’t fall into your lap, you’ve got to go out and find it.

“It’s not always the simplest of things and the younger me didn’t always make the same choices I have made since.

“If you are passionate about something, devote yourself to achieving and realising your passion.

“You have to work hard, believe in yourself and use every obstacle as an opportunity to learn and develop.”

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