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JOHANNESBURG - South Africa needs a large pool of competent engineers that have had solid, diverse on-the-job work experience to apply latest technologies and drive economic progress in the continent, says Joseph Mahendran, Regional Manager at Black & Veatch, Sub-Saharan Africa.

A statement released by the company pinpoints engineering expertise as critical for building Africa's infrastructure. Mahendran adds that South Africa's economic slowdown has led to some engineering companies to reduce operational cost, cutting training and development programmes, and retiring experienced engineers from the profession - leave a skills gap that could have future projects. 

In ensuring the unfading future of engineering in the continent,  Black & Veatch has developed a 24 month skills transfer programme which includes engineer-in-training guidance, with a focus on power generation projects. This forms part of the company's global skills development and training, the statement revealed. One of the Black & Veatch’s training programme graduates, Merlin Naidoo said, “Black & Veatch’s training programme has given me opportunities to supplement my theoretical knowledge with practical experiences. I have learned a lot through various assigned tasks. Excellent guidance from our other professionals has helped me discover and deepen my passion for mechanical engineering”.

According to Mahendran, placement at the end of the programme is largely dependent on the individual’s overall performance, interaction and integration with the team and the availability of suitable positions.