A decade in unearthing future engineers



 

In its quest to promote engineering as a career of choice, Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) and its Young Professionals Forum (YPF) has for the past decade celebrated Job Shadow Day with the aim of attracting South Africa’s learners into becoming the country’s future engineers.

The initiative is geared towards showcasing the engineering profession, particularly consulting engineering, as an exciting career option and also serves as a call to action for Engineering Corporates to develop a pipeline of much-needed engineering professionals in South Africa.

CESA’s YPF chairperson, Amanda Masondo-Mkhize, says that June is a significant month which is used to commemorate the role of youth in the liberated society that we live in today. She urged all CESA member firms to partake in the Job Shadow initiative and allow high school pupils to experience “A day in the life of a consulting engineer”.

Since 2008, Job Shadow Day has reached over 15 000 learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. In 2004 CESA established the YPF to expedite the development of practicing young professionals by creating focused platforms of interaction that could be utilised to address areas of development that were identified as lagging by these young practitioners.

CESA’s president, Lynne Pretorius, says that South Africa should develop a pipeline of professionally registered engineers. This long-term approach requires various role-players to identify and support learners with an aptitude for mathematics and science at secondary school level; support, guide and mentor learners towards choosing engineering as a career; provide financial assistance towards tertiary engineering studies; provide the necessary social support to students in these tertiary engineering study programmes from disadvantaged schools and backgrounds; assist with work placement after graduation; and ensure adequate workplace mentorship and guidance to develop competence and ultimately professional registration.

The job shadow initiative takes the form of a poster competition, from which the three best posters describing the learners’ experience having spent time with a member company get the recognition at the CESA Aon Engineering Excellence Awards which will be held on 16 August 2017. In 2016, Royal HaskoningDHV was the winner of the CESA Job Shadow Poster Competition with UWP Consulting and Nako ILISO as the runners-up.

The job shadow initiative has been expanded to include school talks by individuals who do not participate in the main job shadow programme. The school talks were necessitated by the fact that many learners continue to struggle with mathematics and end up doing mathematics literacy which limits them in their later career choices.

Contact Dennis Ndaba, CESA, Tel 011 463-2022, dennis@cesa.co.za

 

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