The Department of Water and Sanitation’s Learning Academy has made huge strides in attracting young engineers, who want to be part of efforts to enhance the quality of water delivered to citizens.
The department reported that it has been swamped by requests from ambitious, determined and young qualified engineers who want to work for the water sector.
The Learning Academy is an internal structure, which was initiated in 2007 as a response to a shortage of specific skills needed to boost the production of the department.
The purpose of the academy is, among others, to investigate technical and scarce skills development needs within the department, address technical and scarce skills gaps in the overall water supply value chain and address scarce skills gaps in specific technical areas of the department.
The academy also plans and builds capacity for medium and long-term needs of the department and the water and sanitation sector, as well as developing and implementing structured training for engineering and scientific graduate trainees.
Learning Academy Director Verena Meyer said one of the main areas in the department which experiences a dire shortage of skills and expertise is the engineering function.
Meyer said to date, 57 young engineers have been offered an opportunity to participate in the Professional Development Programme.
“Three of these  engineers have managed to register as professional engineers, while others are on various levels of meeting the required 11 outcomes of the Engineering Council of South Africa,” Meyer said.
The Professional Development Programme is part of the department’s social responsibility. It incubates young and inexperienced graduates, offering them an opportunity to receive on-the job-training and exposure regarding their areas of study, while introducing them to the department’s core business.
To boost the programme, Meyer said 20 recently qualified engineers joined the Learning Academy on 19 January 2015 and are currently completing the Department of Public Service and Administration’s compulsory induction programme.
“They are breaking barriers at the department’s Roodeplaat Training Centre and will report for duty at their various base stations with effect from 2 February 2015,” said Meyer.
For information on how to be part of the department’s engineering component family member, Meyer can be contacted on 012 336 7448.