CESA and YPF unearthing South Africa's future engineers

Former President Nelson Mandela said “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
 
It is with these wise words of wisdom in mind, that Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) and its Young Professionals Forum (YPF) introduced a Job Shadowing Initiative, which is in its eighth year and aims to unearth South Africa’s future engineers. 

The goal of the Job Shadowing Initiative is to expose and entice School Learners to the Engineering field, but more so to Consulting Engineering as a career of choice. By giving them an experience like no other: learners get a chance to imagine, live, work and play Engineering – opening their minds to a world of possibilities. Engineers change the world by conceptualizing practical solutions while inspiring people to create and design innovative structures that matter.  
 
The Job Shadowing Initiative takes the form of a poster competition, of which the three best pictures describing the experience by the learners, get the recognition at the CESA Engineering Excellence Awards to be held on 17 August 2016. Last year UWP Consulting was announced as the winner of the CESA Job Shadow Initiative with Royal HaskoningDHV, Hatch Goba and Infraconsult as runners-up.
 
Our battle to curb the quadruple challenges of poverty, unemployment, inequality and corruption, predominately depends on us providing quality education for our youth and empowering them to make informed decisions about their careers.
 
School Talk
 
The CESA Job Shadowing Initiative has been expanded to include “School Talks” by participants who are not involved in the main Job Shadowing Programme.
 
“School Talks” have become a necessity since the majority of learners continue to struggle with Mathematics during the transition from grades three to four, grades seven to eight and end up not choosing Mathematics in grade ten. Statistics show also that from those who choose mathematics in grade ten, not mathematics literacy, only one in five achieves a pass of more than 50% in Mathematics and Science in the matric final exam.
 
An ‘engineering intervention’ is necessary to stop and reverse the ‘Mathematics meltdown’ at schools by conducting motivational talks during the Job Shadowing Months. The South African Engineering profession will not survive if the standard of numeracy at schools does not improve.
 
Much in the same manner as the Job Shadowing Initiative, the presenters of the “School Talks” present learners with a copy of the talk which they can share with their peers and their parents. This small effort may be akin to trying to save starfish that get washed ashore. Too many to save and too few who care! CESA though, is up to the challenge!!!