Black-owned multidisciplinary consulting engineering firm Gibb is exposing its junior engineers to as many large-scale projects as possible to secure development of the company and South Africa’s consulting engineering sector.
Gibb environmental services GM and director Dr Urishanie Govender tells Engineering News that, as part of this strategy, the company allocates many of its junior engineers to large projects to observe and gain on-the-job experience from the company’s senior engineers.
“Although we do not always charge our clients for the junior engineers’ time, allocating them to large-scale projects ensures that they can work on these projects on their own in the near future. It is every engineer’s dream to work on a large project and we ensure that this is made possible for our engineers while they are still juniors in the profession,” she explains.
Govender adds that, as part of its mission to expand its African footprint, the company has established a 20-year strategy to expand its market reach beyond South Africa and into emerging market sectors.
“We realise that South Africa will always be our core market and we will always operate from here, but we also have an aggressive Africa strategy that includes strengthening our local presence in strategic places on the continent.”
Meanwhile, Govender says that, owing to funding blockages, which ultimately lead to projects starting later than scheduled, Gibb started a project financing division in 2013, Gibb Capital, which has been growing from strength to strength and has enabled the start of many new projects.
“We started Gibb Capital after noticing that there was almost no funding available for the concept phase of projects and, since establishing the division, we have been successful with our projects because we have found that, if you get the project off to a good start from the concept phase, it becomes easier to secure funding for the design and construction phases,” she highlights.
Gibb Capital works with investment institutions such as the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Industrial Development Corporation, Govender adds.
Gibb’s ongoing projects include the Eastern Cape’s mega Thornhill water treatment works project and associated projects under the OR Tambo district municipality and Amatola Water; Gauteng’s Sedibeng regional sanitation scheme; an environmental impact analysis for State-owned power utility Eskom’s Nuclear One project; and the design and construction of the Kazungula Bridge between Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Govender tells Engineering News that the company is aiming to diversify its services to develop its environmental division and is, therefore, also finalising the acquisition of a leading environmental company.