Learners from different High Schools across Gauteng gathered at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg, Newtown for the 2015 Youth in Construction Expo.
A word of welcome came from the CEO of South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) Webster Mfebe, who set the tone of the event by emphasising on the importance of the expo.
“It is an important occasion for the generation of Social Capital that provides a tangible experience, feel, character of opportunities available in the construction space,” said Mfebe
There is a shortage of built environment skills in South Africa. In an attempt to address this issue, the department of public works is aiming is aiming at providing enough competent and skilled professionals in the built environment. This will be accomplished by funding secondary and tertiary programmes and providing training and mentorship programmes.
The department received a R50 million discretionary grant from the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA). The department used part of the grant in 2014 to award 144 full time bursaries for students registered for studies within the built environment. To date, the department has awarded 40 bursaries to learners who have completed matric and will be pursuing careers in the built environment in 2015.
Finally, the most important objective is making the built environment an attractive profession through professional development. “We need to make construction a cool career for our learners o follow. Parents should also play their role by guiding their children and not assuming school will do all the work,” said Malcolm Pautz, South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) president. ‘Youth in construction’ is an initiative of the construction industry to expose learners to the many career possibilities in the sector. The initiative was introduced in 2008 and is coordinated by SAFCEC, SAICE, CESA and the Master Builders Association in the various provinces.
“Learners are encouraged to come and learn more about the career opportunities in this critical industry and bursaries offered by the corporations. Discover the skills and courses you need to succeed,” said Bongani Malaza, the master of ceremonies of the expo.