Ronnie Khoza, Business Development Director at OEG, delivers a keynote address to the Black Engineers Council’s “Engineers in Conversation”.
The presentation outlined topics such as
- the basic definition of engineering, to lay a foundation for the main thrust of the topic…”The Role of Engineering in South Africa’s Socioeconomic Landscape”;
- a reflection on the history of Black education in South Africa during apartheid, especially in relation to poor teaching of maths and science as the foundation of engineering, restricted access to former white universities that were the only ones teaching engineering, to challenges with mentorship and development at work and then post-apartheid improvements and challenges for Black engineers.
- the backlog in infrastructure, highlighting water, energy, human settlements, roads and transport, telecommunications, and social infrastructure
- a strong observation: that the Black youth are taking up engineering in their big numbers, in various disciplines and are pursuing professional registration.
- an interesting reflection on future capacity, illustrated with numbers and graphs from reputable organisations like SAICE, ECSA, BCG, WB, WEF, etc. This was to show the audience how dire the situation of youth development is if we want to catch up on the infrastructure backlog and cope better with population growth in future.
BEC was commended for their initiative and support young Black engineers, guiding them through development towards professional registration, exposing them to networks of professionals who share ideas on topical issues with them. The youth need work opportunities, as expressed during the Q&A session. It is a STRONG PLEA to government and the private sector. Ronnie shared that Osmotic Engineering Group (OEG), of which he is Business Development Director, has just inducted a group of young engineering graduates who will spend the next six months at OEG as part of exposing and capacitating them on, mainly, water and sanitation related projects. This is an initiative of the Water Research commission, Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), supported by the presidential Employment Stimulus (PES).