By Yolisa Mkele
The government’s plan to spend R827-billion on infrastructure projects over the next three years might have hit a snag – a shortage of engineers and inadequate engineering training.
A report released yesterday by financial services company PPS showed that 43% of the more than 700 South African engineers surveyed feel that engineering degree programmes do not train students sufficiently.
“These findings are in line with Manpower Group SA’s ‘Talent Shortage Survey’ of 2013, which revealed that engineering positions were the most difficult for companies to fill,” said Gerhard Joubert, head of group marketing at PPS.
Francis Petersen, dean of engineering at UCT, conceded that graduates did not have sufficient experience to be functional engineers from day one but said they were equipped to add “long-term value”.
Joubert said 82% of the engineers surveyed said they were confident about the future of the profession in South Africa, with 74% saying they were certain that they would remain in this country for the foreseeable future.
“Though both of these figures are high, they have both dropped by two percentage points year-on-year and should be watched closely,” he cautioned.