Course to broaden consulting engineers’ business acumen

18th November 2011 By: Reggie Sikhakhane

There is a clear need for the additional development of engineering graduates to broaden their knowledge beyond pure engineering, asserts industry body Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa).

The organisation believes that general business knowledge of the consulting engineering industry is an aspect that is inadequately addressed in the engineering training provided by tertiary institutions.

Cesa School of Consulting Engineers manager Brenda Lacey-Smith says the industry body has recognised the need to bridge this gap.

It has established a two-tier development programme, which will initially introduce engineers to basic business skills, including basic financial practices and processes, the principles of law and the business legal system, project delivery, and economics and market theory.

Later on, the advanced Management in Consulting Engineering programme will focus on enhancing these business skills and will enable the engineer to specialise in selected fields relevant to the consulting engineering environment.

“By covering business administration, the programme will encourage engineers to own and run companies effectively, as well as to grow the sector and job opportunities,” says Lacey-Smith.

The development programme will also enhance knowledge of resource management, including labour relations and job functions.

Each tier of the programme is divided into three trimesters over a 12-month period, during which participants will participate in practical exercises and be expected to hand in assignments that will serve as a portfolio.

Cesa says the development programmes, which required two years of extensive consultation and research to develop, will also benefit companies that do not have the resources to conduct in-house training.