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Nov 14 2012

South Africa’s engineers have grown increasingly confident in the status of their own profession, yet serious concerns remain about the current skills shortage in the profession and the standard of the education system training future engineers, according to a quarterly survey conducted by PPS. The survey, of nearly 800 South African engineers, revealed a seven percentage point increase in confidence that the status of their profession will improve, from 55% for the first quarter of 2012 to 62% for the second quarter. Furthermore, 76% of engineers would encourage their children to enter their profession, up two percentage points from the previous quarter. According to Gerhard Joubert, Head of Group Marketing and Stakeholder Relations at PPS, the financial services provider focused on graduate professionals, the results of the survey are very positive in light of the dire skills shortage currently facing the engineering profession.

“Possible reasons behind this boost in confidence could be the recent naming of six African infrastructure projects - two of which are located in South Africa - by global professional services firm KPMG among its list of 100 ‘most innovative and inspiring’ infrastructure projects in the world. This accomplishment serves as an inspiration for local engineers as their hard work is being globally recognised. Confidence levels of respondents on whether the current skills shortage in their profession will be adequately addressed by the government in the short to medium term rose by only one percentage point to 41% from 40% recorded for the fi rst quarter. “While this confi dence level is up, it is still a very low overall, highlighting the fact that engineers recognise the threat the current skills shortage presents to the profession,” says Joubert. Commenting on the survey results, Thabo Senooane, Chief Operations Officer of the National Society of Black Engineers, highlighted that skills development, particularly the conversion from graduate to engineering professional, was receiving priority attention from professional engineering institutions such as the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). There is a seven percentage point increase in confidence that the status of their profession will improve for the Built Environment (CBE) and the Department of Public Works. “The gap within all spheres of engineering is a challenge that can only be defeated through collaboration of government and private entities. This will facilitate the throughput of engineers from the point of their qualification up to professional registration. The commitment from ECSA together with its affiliated Voluntary Association in this development cannot be overstated. NSBE is currently bringing together all captains in engineering and other financial giants with the aim of putting substantial effort in the development of students studying towards engineering, more especially those coming from rural areas and females.” says Senooane.

The NSBE believes that despite the challenges within engineering as a profession, there is a vast range of opportunities for engineers given the fact that South Africa is a developing country. Respondents’ confidence levels on whether the current education system is providing the necessary skills for the creation of potential engineers, improved by only one percentage point to 42% quarter on quarter. When asked about their confidence levels in the standard of education, a confidence level of 42% was revealed, down two percentage points from the previous quarter. Furthermore, 95% of respondents are concerned about the lack of mathematics and science graduates in South Africa. Joubert says other results on more general issues revealed a marginal improvement in confidence; however, the level is still very low. “Confidence on whether unemployment will improve over the next five years was just 42%, up one percentage point, while confidence that crime rates would improve over the next five years was 45%, up two percentage points from the previous quarter. It is positive to note that local engineers are confident that they will remain in the country for the foreseeable future with the results for this question remaining unchanged at 76%, while confidence in the future of the profession only dropped one percentage point to 83% quarter on quarter. “The survey results from engineering professionals reveal that issues such as skills development and the current state of the education sector remain areas of high concern for these professionals. In order to ensure the sustainability of the profession it is imperative that these issues are addressed by Government to ensure South Africa’s economic development remains in line with other developing countries,” concludes Joubert.

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ARMSCOR

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

HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT

Armscor

370 Nossob Street

 C/ O Delmars Avenue & Nossob Street 

Erasmuskool x4

Pretoria

Tel:+27 12 428 2434  Fax:+27 12 428 2433

Email: Thembis@armscor.co.za

012 428 2450

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