The first cohort of over 550 diverse high school learners will be the first to develop their engineering identities through ‘Next Engineers’
GENERAL Electric (GE) (www.GE.com) in partnership with FHI360, PROTEC and the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) have officially launched the Next Engineers programme in Johannesburg to increase the diversity of young people in engineering. The programme launch, which was officiated by the Gauteng MEC for education, Panyaza Lesufi, will provide more than 3 500 students between the ages 13 to 18 with over five years of hands on exposure to engineering concepts and careers, and ultimately award financial support to students pursuing engineering degrees.
Next Engineers, funded by the GE Foundation, has also been launched in Cincinnati, Ohio and Greenville, South Carolina in the USA, and Staffordshire in the U.K. Since announcing the selection of Johannesburg as one of the four launch cities to implement Next Engineers globally last year, PROTEC and the GDE ensured Next Engineers garnered significant interest in the programme from high schools across Johannesburg’s five educational districts. In fact, of the approximately 1 100 students that applied to be among the first to participate in the programme’s exciting Engineering Discovery, Engineering Camp and Engineering Academy pillars, over 550 high school learners were selected as the first cohort.
Nyimpini Mabunda, CEO of GE South Africa says, “Through GE’s Next Engineers programme, we are not only exposing tomorrow’s engineers and change makers who will solve society’s most pressing challenges to invaluable hands-on learning experiences but we are playing our part in increasing the representation of females in the engineering sector”.
The total $2.5 million USD investment will cover funding to PROTEC to implement and grow the programme, provide financial support for up to 150 Engineering Academy participants and funding for tuition for 800 youths to attend Engineering Camp.
“Working with the GE Foundation is a key step to uplifting the lives of many potential engineers while also contributing to the acceleration of the engineering industry. Through this collaboration we look forward to mentoring and exposing students to endless possibilities brought by the engineering sector and giving them an opportunity to turn their passion into a career in engineering”, says PROTEC CEO, Mr. Balan Moodley.
The Next Engineers programme starts with raising awareness as early as age 13 (grade eight), igniting interest throughout high school (ages 14 to 18), and alleviating financial barriers to higher education through financial support.
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