The company recruits and places some 500 engineers a year, with between 5% and 10% being German.
Boasting with 30 years of experience in engineering placements, DAV CEO Ingrid Kast says that, over the years, there has been a significant shift in the engineering field.
“In the past many skilled German engineers were entering the South African labour market, but now they have developed their own companies and are focusing on training and transferring their skills to South African engineers,” she avers.
She says that, although there are still German engineers entering South Africa, companies are more focused on promoting local engineers.
In the past there were significant numbers of predominantly mechanical and electrical engineers entering the country but currently there seems to be an even spread over all the sectors.
Kast says that the South African engineering industry is experiencing a significant dearth of skills, and one contributing factor is lack of knowledge about the field.
“Schools need to educate scholars about the advantages of studying engineering and teach them about the multitude of engineering disciplines that exist,” she maintains.
There remains a sceptical attitude among scholars regarding mathematics and science, and most of them end up studying for entrance into fields that are already saturated.
Earlier this year the Indus-trial Development Corporation (IDC) revealed findings that indicated that the number of financial-sector graduates has increased from 75 178 in 1991 to 158 891 in 2001; however, there are more than 14 498 that are still unemployed in accounting, business management and commerce disciplines, with some 69% of the unemployed being black graduates.
One of the reasons for the unemployment rate is that graduates do not have the practical training to complement the degree.
“In Germany there are apprenticeships available where a person with a master’s degree is allowed to mentor students,” Kast says.
She says that this type of system could be positively implemented in South Africa and provide people with the opportunity to be trained in a certain profession without having to obtain a full university degree.
Kast also says that the South African engineering recruitment industry would like to see an increase in female and black engineers.
The company has six divisions; namely engineering, information and communication technologies, financial markets, management and executive search, German business and office support.
The engineering division is active in mechanical, electrical, electronic, telecommunications, chemical, structural and civil engineering as well as quantity surveying, mining and metallurgy, foundry management, automation/instrumentation and process control, quality engineering, management consulting, sales and marketing and export, design and project management, manufacturing, supply-chain management, logistics and procurement, environmental and scientific, and executive search.
The company has nine German-speaking consultants because of the company’s entrenched German roots.
The company has also successfully placed people in the UK, the US, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Canada and several countries in Africa.
DAV has won several awards; one is the Career Junction best consultancy award, where candidates voted the company as giving them the best service compared to 200 other placement groups.
The company also won the Profes-sional Management Review (PMR) award as receiving the highest rating from the clients.
The company was founded by Kast, who immigrated to South Africa from Germany and saw a need to help German engineers find work.