In 2011, the SADC (Southern African Development Community) ministers of science and technology endorsed an engineering needs and numbers study, to get a better understanding of the actual numbers of engineers, technologists and technicians in the SADC countries and the needs of SADC member states to allow for better planning for the attainment of sustainable development in the region.
Subsequent scoping workshops have taken place with member countries and in early 2017, SAICE Professional Development and Projects (SAICE-PDP), a not-for-profit sister organisation to the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE), was appointed to carry out the study.
The overall objective of the study is to get a better understanding of the engineer, engineering technologist and technician capacities in the SADC region to allow for better planning and implementation of infrastructure programmes to support the SADC Industrialisation Strategy, which has a long-term scope spanning from 2015 to 2063.
The strategy identifies lack of adequate infrastructure and lack of adequate skills and capacities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as being among the binding constraints for industrial development. The outcomes of the study will also serve as input towards the implementation of key SADC policies and frameworks such as the SADC Master Plan on Infrastructure Development, Protocol on Education and Training, and Protocol on Science, Technology and Innovation.
Dr Allyson Lawless, civil engineer and team leader for the SAICE-PDP study, has urged companies in the SADC region’s engineering sectors to complete an online survey to make the study as comprehensive as possible. Available until a 7 September cut-off date, and accessible via the short URL www.surveymonkey.com/r/DJX77MC, the survey is tailored to inform the study on the following factors:
• The support of engineering graduates from higher education.
• The engineering skills base per country and mobility of engineering personnel.
• Sectors in which engineering skills are required, the roles they play, and how increased capacity can contribute to growth.
• Policies relating to engineering development and the regulation of engineering professionals.
• Development and economic trends relating to each sector.
• Projects planned for each country and the region.
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