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SA needs more professionals in the built environment

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille says South Africa needs more professionals in the built environment.

De Lille said that is the reason why the department had initiated the Bursary and Skills Pipeline Programme.

Speaking at the handing over of bursaries to students who have enrolled for the built environment degrees, De Lille told the recipients that they should be proud of what they have achieved especially in difficult circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many of you have pushed through trying circumstances such as losing loved ones and many other challenges. But your being here today and your excellent results shows that you have what it takes to overcome adversity and shape your own destiny,” De Lille said on Tuesday.

De Lille said most of the matric learners have achieved over 80% and 90% pass for tough subjects such as Maths and Physics.

“A good number of recipients also achieved distinctions in all subjects and we salute you for a job well done. Your lives will change dramatically in this next phase of your life, but keep your head up, keep focussed and above all keep working hard.”

The bursary programme is also aimed at removing financial barriers to students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and who are in need of financial assistance and those who display excellence and enrol for courses in the built environment for their tertiary education.

The programme further serves as feeder to the departmental Internship and Young Professionals Programme and later form a pool of qualified built environment professionals to serve the state in the delivery of infrastructure projects.

The bursary accommodates the following study areas: Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Marine Engineering, Property Studies, Real Estate, Actuarial Science, Quantity Surveying, Construction Project Management, Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Town and Regional Planning.

She urged the bursary recipients to change the world.

“Become the professional that will one day contribute to building our country by using your education to change our communities by building bridges and all other infrastructure that will bring more progress to our country.”

This year the department handed over 43 built environment bursaries for the 2022 academic year, for the courses:  Actuarial Science, Electrical Engineering, Construction Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, Civil Engineering, Quantity Surveying and Mechanical Engineering to be studied at various accredited Traditional Universities.

Of the 43 bursary recipients, 24 are females.

The value of the bursary is estimated at R150 000 per student per year and this covers tuition, accommodation, meals, textbooks, laptop, projects, books, excursions, workshops and monthly stipend allowance.

One of the bursary recipient, Siyamthanda Tyhaliti, (18) from Colesberg in the Northern Cape, who got three distinctions in isiXhosa Home Language, Life Orientation and Life Sciences  will be studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Johannesburg.

“I grew up hoping to become a pilot one day but with time, I got to love inventions made by many engineers and scientists.  I am now looking forward to being a South African Inventor as well,” he said.

Another recipient, Awethu Nqcobo, (19) from Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, passed with a bachelor and also got a distinction, said he will be studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Johannesburg.

“While growing up, I realised that I am good with handwork and fixing things, which I really enjoyed.

“Mechanical engineering is one of the most fascinating fields. Mechanical engineers design and develop new systems and technologies that can be used extend our physical abilities and simplify people’s lives.  Ever since I realised my passion, my family motivated me to pursue my goals,” he said.

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