http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.87Change: 0.01
R/$ = 13.30Change: 0.00
Au 1133.54 $/ozChange: -1.31
Pt 1018.00 $/ozChange: -2.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Aug 19, 2011

Engineering registration holds competitiveness, service delivery promise

Back
Construction|Engineering|Africa|Design|Ecsa|Education|Health|Safety|System|Systems|Training|Africa|Service|Systems|University Of Cape Town
Construction|Engineering|Africa|Design|Ecsa|Education|Health|Safety|System|Systems|Training|Africa|Service|Systems|University Of Cape Town
construction|engineering|africa-company|design|ecsa|education-company|health|safety|system|systems-company|training|africa|service|systems|university-of-cape-town
© Reuse this



Registration as a professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) has safety, competitiveness, recruitment and service delivery benefits for the country, yet it is fraught with challenges.

ECSA president Chris Campbell says society relies on seasoned professionals to make planning, design and financial decisions and, if such decisions are made without input from competent engineers, the health and safety of workers and the public is compromised and the product’s effectiveness is affected.

The objective of professional registration is to give the public confidence in the competence of registered persons, says ECSA special consultant Professor Hu Hanrahan. ECSA registration endorses the engineer and also makes the recruitment process easier for employers, as they do not have to test for competence, adds Campbell.

To be eligible for registration, candidates must graduate from a university, or a university of technology with a degree or diploma before entering the candidacy stage, where they must complete a period of at least three years’ work in industry, acquiring appropriate experience. However, potential candidates are often not exposed to a broad enough range of engineering experience to be adequately competent and confident enough to register, says Campbell.

Ecsa faces several challenges in encouraging engineers to register, as well as in the limited number of candidates at the different points in the registration process. ECSA CEO Dr Oswald Franks says, as opposed to taking three years to acquire the necessary experience between graduating and applying, many candidates take between 7 and 15 years, which means they would be 30 years old, or older, before being able to register, which is suboptimal.

Franks reveals that, in late June, there were 34 680 engineering professionals registered with ECSA.

Pipeline Problems
A contributing factor to the country’s lack of engineers and registration applicants is that the schooling system is producing too few matriculants with good symbols in mathematics, science and English, says Franks. Exacerbating this challenge is the competition between the engineering, medical, financial and other professions for students in this limited pool.

In 2008, South African universities collectively produced just under 8 000 graduates, having taken ten years to double from 4 000 graduates. Government is now calling for the number of graduates to increase to 15 000 by 2014, he says

University of Pretoria Department of Chemical Engineering professor and ECSA VP Thoko Majozi adds the Minister of Education has called for 4 500 Master of Engineering graduates by 2014. Currently, only 1 200 PhD graduates are produced across the board, with only 90 in engineering. Further, there are currently about 50 000 students enrolled in some form of engineering.

The intake and number of graduates from tertiary education need to be drastically improved. Franks says universities are generally at almost full capacity and cannot take on additional students. To increase the number of graduates, new institutions would need to be established, or the effi- ciency and success of higher education systems improved – he believes the latter is a better option.

In 2007, researchers at the University of Cape Town found that only 54% of gradu- ates enrolled in a four-year BSc engineering programme, typically offered at South African universities, graduate within five years and, after five years, just under 20% are still registered. Hence, at least 25% of the students that entered the course five years prior drop out by the fifth year of study.

The situation in universities of technology is worse, with 17% of students graduating from a three-year programme after five years and more than 50% of students dropping out after five years without having qualified. The national diploma course includes a two-year academic programme and one year in industry. Franks says the latter is sometimes a contributory factor to the poor statistics, as some students, having met their academic requirements, have difficulty finding employment in industry.

In the BSc course, the study found that white students succeed at a rate of 64% within five years and black students at 32%. In the national diploma, 28% of white students succeed and 16% of the remaining designated groups. ECSA believes this research is indicative of an underperforming public school system that does not prepare students adequately for success in higher education.

Mentoring
Graduates are also taking longer to acquire the necessary workplace experience because of inadequate training owing to a lack of mentors, says Campbell. Candidates also need to be allowed to rotate into different functions in a company. Many organisations cannot offer a full suite of the necessary experience, so candidates are forced to change jobs to gain experience. He says ECSA needs to find a way to facilitate candidates being seconded from company to company to get the necessary experience.

Hanrahan says, previously, there was a culture and strong practice of mentoring and transfer of verbal information from mentors to mentees, which needs to be continued through another communication channel. Hence, ECSA is working on more comprehensive guides for training and mentoring, which capture as much information as possible that would previously have been passed from mentor to mentee.

ECSA is also planning on hosting an engineering summit in September, with a key theme dealing with the challenges it faces in training its candidates for regis- tration.

The ‘Global Competitiveness Report 2010–2011’, released by the World Economic Forum, ranks South Africa at 75 out of 189 countries in terms of higher education and training, and at 137 in terms of the quality of its mathematics and science education. Majozi says this has implications for the future competitive edge of the country and it requires action. The country was ranked at 54 on the global competitiveness index.

Franks believes South Africa’s ratings in the report have declined in the past three to four years as a direct consequence of its lack of engineering skills. He says service delivery inefficiencies and protests partly arise because there are young, newly graduated and inexperienced engineers in municipalities without guidance or mentoring and, as result, service delivery is delayed or postponed. Hence, the country’s declining competitiveness, service delivery challenges and the lack of engineering skills are linked.

“To retain engineers in the industry and not lose them to industries such as service providers, construction and the financial sector, they must be appropriately remunerated, capacity at service delivery levels needs to be rebuilt, technical personnel must be appropriately qualified and trained and there needs to be succession planning,” concludes Campbell.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other News This Week News
Training company The Intelligence Transfer Centre will host the fourth yearly Environmental Crimes Conference at the Indaba Hotel, in Fourways, Johannesburg between September 9 and 10. Confirmed key regulatory bodies that will attend the event include the Department...
The government of Egypt has said it is ready to provide technical assistance to Malawi in the development of the Shire–Zambezi waterway, which is designed to link landlocked Malawi to the Indian Ocean by opening the two rivers for navigation. Egyptian ambassador to...
Kenya is finally set to start building a new multipurpose petroleum pipeline, after securing a $350-loan from a consortium of banks, including South Africa's Rand Merchant Bank. The other banks in the consortium are the Cooperative Bank of Kenya, Citibank's Kenya...
More
 
 
Latest News
A preliminary investigation by the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) into the derailment of a Shosholoza Meyl train in Kimberley earlier this month, found that Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) had failed to communicate with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA)...
Three of home improvement company Illiad’s major shareholders – Sanlam, Visio and Coronation, which held 69.25% – have agreed to vote in favour of a takeover by Steinhoff, with the company’s remaining shareholders to vote on the deal on September 29. Seventy-five per...
Government should face the fact that South Africa’s full-blown jobs crisis is a matter of urgent public importance, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Friday. MP James Vos, the DA shadow minister of tourism, was responding to a letter by Baleka Mbete, the Speaker...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book comprises separate reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Water 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Training company The Intelligence Transfer Centre will host the fourth yearly Environmental Crimes Conference at the Indaba Hotel, in Fourways, Johannesburg between September 9 and 10. Confirmed key regulatory bodies that will attend the event include the Department...
The government of Egypt has said it is ready to provide technical assistance to Malawi in the development of the Shire–Zambezi waterway, which is designed to link landlocked Malawi to the Indian Ocean by opening the two rivers for navigation. Egyptian ambassador to...
Kenya is finally set to start building a new multipurpose petroleum pipeline, after securing a $350-loan from a consortium of banks, including South Africa's Rand Merchant Bank. The other banks in the consortium are the Cooperative Bank of Kenya, Citibank's Kenya...
MARAIS VAN HEERDEN The owner/operator should be able to view the overall project design and progress made at any time
Three-dimensional (3D) engineering design models can now be viewed on tablets, which enable stakeholders to view the design without having to buy the design software used to create it, says engineering design firm 3DDraughting executive Marais van Heerden. The...
Ford’s newest offering in a long list of newcomers to the local market in the last two years is the B-Max multi-activity vehicle (MAV). The B-Max will play in the so called B-MAV segment, or the small MAV segment, currently dominated by Toyota’s Avanza, which sells...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96