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Many students who are good in Maths and Science take engineering as a sensible career choice.  Their passion of the subject matter grows while at university.  But the recent Study Council on Higher Education revealed in detail what happened to all students in this country who entered tertiary education in 2001. Of all of those students who started a BSc Engineering degree in 2001, 54% had graduated after 5 years, and 19% were still registered and leaving about 25% who have dropped out without graduating. This study also gives the throughput statistics for the National Diploma. Of those who registered for Engineering Diploma in 2001, only 17% had completed the qualification five years later and 14% were still registered while 69% left without qualification. These statistics offer a clear conclusion: We need to do something better to help students who come to study engineering at tertiary level.

Some students who come from disadvantage homes and smaller communities find tertiary campus life very overwhelming and intimidating.  Some suffer endless frustrations to find suitable accommodation, access to computers and other essential study materials. Recent evidence shows that on average, 70% of the families of the higher education drop-outs surveyed were in the category “low economic status”. Black (African) families were particularly poor, with some parents and guardians earning less than R1 600 a month. Yet many of the students coming from these families depended on their parents or guardians for financial support to pay their fees to provide for essential living expenses. Many of those who dropped out indicated that they worked to augment their meagre financial resources, no doubt adding to their stress levels and distracting them from their studies. The study also shows that around 70% of students had no siblings with university experience, let alone their parents. This suggest that they are the first-generation university students in their families and no one could tell them of what to expect when they get there in order to adapt effectively to change and succeed in their academic life.

Vacation work and/or In-service training helps students to understand and apply the theories and concepts they are studying engineering through realistic application, professional guidance and coaching in the field. It gives them an understanding of what they will be doing in the field of engineering and motivating them further in their careers. Vacation work is where students learn skills which they are not taught in the lecture room. Familiarity with common engineering tools is an example of something learned during vacation work wherein it provides interest and expands horizons and endless world of opportunities. Lack of vacation work hinders the opportunity for hands-on experience in engineering as this becomes detrimental as the students cannot make a link between the career they have chosen, their studies and how it will be when they finished their studies. This can be linked with the process of mentoring where students get support and encouragement to manage their own learning in order to maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be. A more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps a less experienced or less knowledgeable person to progress in their own lives and careers.  This formal or informal development relationship helps the student to be successful in a wide range of skills.

·         A mentor is a guide who can help the mentee to find the right direction and who can help them to develop solutions to career issues. Mentors rely upon having had similar experiences to gain an empathy with the mentee and an understanding of their issues. Mentoring provides the mentee with an opportunity to think about career options and progress.

·        A mentor should help the mentee to believe in him/herself and boost their confidence. A mentor should ask questions and challenge the mentee while providing guidance and encouragement. Mentoring allows the mentee to explore new ideas in confidence. It is a chance to look more closely at yourself, your issues, opportunities and what you want in life. Mentoring is about becoming more self aware, taking responsibility for your life and directing your life in the direction you decide, rather than leaving it to chance.


NSBE (SA) reviews such anomalies within the engineering system of learning and has seen a wide range of opportunities to help  students with some of these problems.    


















The NSBE - Moving you Forward

Our new site is designed from the ground up to help you further your business, linking you with engineers from around South Africa and give you Value Added Services as part of your NSBE Membership.

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Armscor is urgently looking for students who need bursaries, they must be studying or interested in engineering with good resultsof course.They can contact; Thembi Siphika



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