There is a need for increased collaboration between consulting engineering industry associations and Minerals Council South Africa, says Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) CEO Chris Campbell.
Industry associations, such as Cesa, serve the purpose of working towards ensuring the wellbeing of the industry and reassuring client bodies of the levels of integrity required of its members. They have specific membership criteria as an industry association that members are expected to adhere to, in the same way as other likeminded associations, such as the Minerals Council, among others.
Through shared values, industry associations should work together and assist one another to achieve their goals and increase collaborative opportunities, advocates Campbell.
Cesa holds the Minerals Council, an industry association for mining companies that are typically also clients of consulting engineering companies, in high regard. It also accepts that such mining houses in the past years had their own in-house engineering services departments. Most in-house engineering services have since become outsourced and typically these companies are now members of Cesa. Mining companies will, therefore, require that expertise offered by consulting engineers remains a sustainable offering. It is this broader community of members that associations, such as Cesa, would like to introduce these mining companies to, he adds.
Working with companies that are members of a credible body ensures clients that engineering practitioners who are appropriately qualified and competent will be working on their projects. With these opportunities, the ability for mentoring and training of future generations of practitioners will increase.
This becomes a business opportunity where mining companies may be able to promote the development of future skills, whether it be directly in mining engineering areas of specialisation or infrastructure related to the development of mines.
Unfortunately, the engineering, procurement and construction style of contracting inherently limits the opportunity for many other companies to access these project opportunities.
Cesa aims to help its members by broadening the opportunities available to them, which Cesa can do as part of a collaborative effort.
Despite a client base divided equally between the private and public sectors, Cesa has admittedly not invested enough time in strengthening its relationship with industry associations whose members often are the clients of their own members, he explains.
The Minerals Council is a body which Cesa seeks to learn from, share ideas with and be seen to be a credible partner of, through which future generations of engineering professionals may be developed, in collaboration with other voluntary associations such as the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
By being actively involved in the development of future engineers, companies can work with associations to train the expert consulting engineers of the future.