Pandor: Not enough engineers in SA

Pandor: Not enough engineers in SA

2014-09-01 15:31

Johannesburg - Despite the high number of students enrolling in engineering each year not enough of them go on to work in the industry, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said on Monday.

Around 1 500 BSc Eng and B Eng students graduated from the country's universities yearly, but only half practised as engineers.

"A lot of them go on to work in banks and other financial institutes. In any case, we need to quadruple the number of graduates, so that we have a larger pool to draw from," she said.

She was speaking at the launch of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation Africa engineering week at the University of Johannesburg.

The shortage of engineering professionals meant there were not enough available for ongoing work, she said. Also, work that required engineering decisions was being done without competent engineering input.

"The lack of engineering capacity hampers South African development, resulting in a decline in the labour market, a decrease in the contribution of the agriculture and mining sectors to [the gross domestic product], and an increase in demand on the engineers with manufacturing and services-related technologies," she said.

Surveys showed the country had fewer engineers than doctors, which was true for most developing countries.

Pandor said there was a link between engineering infrastructure and economic growth.

"More engineers than doctors in a country indicates that adequate infrastructure supports public health and social welfare. In fact, we have twice as many doctors as engineers," she said.

  • Ian Trenor - 2014-09-01 15:34

    Really?? Did you notice that all by yourself?? Big news here

      Joey Barton - 2014-09-01 15:57

      There is no incentive to train people anymore, since the government took away the old apprenticeship scheme, where companies got tax breaks for training people.Today, most students who actually want to be Engineers, cannot even be accepted due to their skin colour.Then there is our wonderful schooling system, where students can't even pass Matric properly, and you want them to study engineering?

      WollieVerstege - 2014-09-01 17:58

      @Wolf - On the money!

  • Jessica Stevens - 2014-09-01 15:38

    And don't forget that those who could have all been replaced by BEE cadres who collect the bucks and cannot deliver

  • Walter Müller - 2014-09-01 15:40

    "A lot of them go on to work in banks and other financial institutes. In any case, we need to quadruple the number of graduates, so that we have a larger pool to draw from," she said. Yes....they qualify as engineers and then WILLINGLY go and work at a bank...Perhaps because they cannot find a JOB!?? Maybe you should 'quadruple' the job-pool!

      An Saint - 2014-09-01 15:59

      I don't think it's because there's not enough engineering jobs, it's just that bank pay more. I know of quite a few software and computer engineers that works in the IT departments of banks. I personally think that the biggest problem is due to the fact that the school education we receive does not adequately prepare students for the BEng first year. I remember when I was in first year only around 50% of students completed the first year successfully and you have to keep in mind that almost all of them had matric averages above 75 as it is the BEng requirement. A lot of engineers go overseas to work in places like Saudi Arabia to gain a lot of experience and a hell lot of money...

      Frans Visser - 2014-09-02 07:54

      That is true An - I wrote Matric under the old dispensation, and only about 10% completed the course in regulation 4 years, and only about 50% actually went on to get their degrees. And this was with 80% of the kids having A aggregates. And of the guys that qualified with me, only a handful are still in the Engineering industry in SA 25 years on. Engineers earn low salaries if you take into account the work they do, the responsibilities they take and the hours they put in, as well as the intellectual capital required. Much easier money working for a bank.

  • Final Blow - 2014-09-01 15:49

    There aren't enoigh jobs for inexperienced engineers, let alone the peanuts being paid in the name of Internships, hence they chose to go work at the banks. There's a lot of money there.

  • Anakin Stealthwalker - 2014-09-01 15:54

    Corruption: Guptas, Duduzane Zuma in line for Denel billions:

  • Gerrit Volschenk - 2014-09-01 15:55

    Would that now mean we are getting Cuban engineers ?

  • Utopian Indigent - 2014-09-01 15:58

    But somewhere someone's not connecting the dots for government. For example, when the Dux pupil of the top engineering school in the country applies to study engineering, he (1) cannot get in because he is white and (2) cannot get a bursary. Furthermore I know cum-laude Engineering graduates who can't get permanent jobs in South Africa. Can someone please wake Minister Pandor and the ANC up? This just doesn't make any sense!?!?

  • Trevor Myburgh - 2014-09-01 16:26

    No engineers..... really....Hulle almal le oppie beach en eet choclits....30% pass for a matric student and you are going to trust him to put up a building in the climate we are living now... Earth quakes and so on. Maybe he can build a bridge over Nkandla. The ANC is sure a funny bunch. They should have been in the banana business.

  • Barbara Mowatt - 2014-09-01 17:03

    "Not enough engineers in SA" ... and whose is to blame for that? Answer: a succession of ministers of education who have failed the country.

  • Frikkie Marais - 2014-09-01 17:03

    I graduated in 1998 with B.Eng Electrical degree on study loan - Eskom was not interested. Been working as Business Analyst in SA Banking sector since then. Best decision I ever made - creative & challenging work, scope for growth, almost no politics compared to other industries and decent pay.

  • Frikkie Marais - 2014-09-01 17:05

    I graduated in 1998 with B.Eng Electrical degree on study loan - Eskom was not interested. Been working as Business Analyst in SA Banking sector since then. Best decision I ever made - creative & challenging work, scope for growth, almost no politics compared to other industries and decent pay.

  • lorenco.lewis - 2014-09-01 17:20

    This all thanx to you and the Goverment!!!!!!!

  • pieter.beets - 2014-09-01 17:21

    And for those of us that are here we get treated as second rate. The expat engineering people are paid top rates. Put up in hotels, rented homes or top end lodges. Have cars & SUVs rented for them. Have their holiday transport paid for them + family twice a year. And on top of all this earn top rates. That is why we go out of the country - we get paid real money there. Here we are not appreciated.

  • Cinderella Story - 2014-09-01 17:36

    As a recently graduated mechanical engineer, I can say from personal experience that the top reason for the problem is: We do not manufacture in South Africa, this reduces the amount of design work available, the work mostly available is maintenance and sales/catalogue engineering. Therefore we go overseas to get a more interesting work. Further more the salary that you can be paid is so wide that generally if you do not work for a mine, you most likely not getting paid that well. Why on earth would you work for 11000 cost to company a month when you have been studying for your degree for 4 year and post grad for 2? Then there is the issue of school education. Many students do not understand that they have to have good grades in both maths and science to be able to even get into engineering. They were simply never told that they had to have these subjects. The drop out rate in first year is a good thing, firstly because the universities cannot handle a large amount of students in the higher years, and also it ensures good standards, no one wants an engineer who got pushed through just because the numbers were too low.

  • Mziwokuthula Fumba - 2014-09-01 18:49

    I Think our Govmnt must focus on the foundation 1st (primary&high school) before focus on Tertiary education cz in order for us to have more engineers it starts from high school ,we must have many Technical high skool's rather than having many ANC counsellors offices ,if u can look at rural areas school kids r doing common subject, they r not exposed to subject that we have in township's and they dnt even have an opportunity to go on career expo so they can be explained about careers which result on failing to meet their requirement on tertiary institutes cz they got subjects that r not recommended for their careers others find out after garde 12 what does their career require .our Gvmnt is Totaly failing everything in this country only Zuma en Guptas that got access on Greener-pastures

  • Audrey Pearl Meyer - 2014-09-01 19:45

    I wonder why? Oh yes I know - it does'nt take rocket scientist to figure that one out

  • Frans Visser - 2014-09-02 07:49

    My nephew is a third year Engineering student - and he cannot get a bursary because of his skin colour. At R50k per year for a 4-5 year course, not many kids can afford to study Engineering. Then when you start working, your salary is not much different from a unskilled illiterate mineworker. Sounds legit?

  • Nin Ja Kitty - 2014-09-02 13:43

    Rubbish. We have more than enough engineers. We have those who engineer scams and schemes. Then there is the government that engineers corruption and deceit and then there are the unions that engineer protests and strikes. So we have enough engineers, just not the right kind.

  • Eddie Dicker - 2014-09-30 16:21

    its because most of them is white & working overseas yo ANC racist.

  • Todays Realist - 2014-10-21 15:41

    I refuse to employ any engineer based on colour! The AA Laws are Racist!

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