To ensure that Africa keeps up with the developed world, the private and public sectors have been working together to ramp up skills development initiatives, especially in STEM. GE and the South African government, through the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative South Africa (Asgi SA), have teamed up to establish a graduate development programme with 155 trainees in various fields of engineering.
In South Africa, there is a need for professional engineering skills, among other professional expertise, to accelerate socio-economic growth in the country. Projects such as the Kusile Power Plant and the Medupi Power Plant require very specific skills to be built and operated successfully.
Benjamin Ngobese recently obtained his Professional Engineering Technician Certificate from the Engineering Council of South Africa with the help of GE and Asgi SA. Throughout his training, Benjamin has been working closely with professional engineers at Kusile. He said: “I am very happy to have worked on the first wet flue gas desulphurisation plant (WFGD) on the African continent. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I have been able to gain technical work experience through the various tasks I had to complete during my training.”
GE provides two years of on-site technical experience and one year of office training. The on-site training includes daily site inspection reports of mechanical equipment installations which involves solving technical queries. Benjamin also participated in the design of the WFGD firefighting system at Kusile.
Benjamin is one of 60 graduates who have successfully completed their training. One of the key requirements for selection in the graduate development programme is for graduates to have completed a National Diploma or B-Tech in Mechanical Engineering at an accredited learning institution and two to three years technical experience. The graduate development programme can be completed in three to five years.
“This graduate development programme offers graduates the opportunity to expand their skill capabilities in a world-class environment. GE believes firmly in supporting the South African government’s commitment to skills development and the company is proud to have been part of this initiative. We understand the importance of ensuring that a new generation of engineers has access to the training and support they need to develop,” said Lee Dawes, Executive Regional General Manager at GE Steam Power Systems Projects.
Image above: Lee Dawes, Executive Regional Manager at GE Steam Power Systems Projects presents Benjamin Ngobese with his Professional Engineering Technician Certificate. Image Credit: Courtesy GE