Enticing youth to pursue engineering

During the July school holidays, SANRAL hosted 34 academically deserving youth from various schools in Nelson Mandela Bay at the annual bridge-building competition in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth.

The learners, who all form part of the Unity in Africa Foundation’s Incubating Young Minds, are in Grades 11 and 12.

Based on the format and rules on the South African Institution of Civil Engineering’s (Saice’s) bridge-building competition, this competition allowed learners to explore their creativity, teamwork and future engineering skills.

Litha Nohashe from Motherwell, who attends Woolhope High School, said: “Civil engineering is interesting and I strongly recommend it to those who think it is boring. The bridge-building competition surprised me, because I am not a creative person. The event opened my eyes in terms of understanding the way I do things.
“I believe engineers are the ones responsible for development and making sure we keep with the times. Everything revolves around engineering if you think about it. We are the people that make
everyone’s lives easier,” he said.

Excited Sonwabiso Nyanga of Newton Technical High School, said the bridge building competition opened his eyes to what engineering as a career can offer.

“For me, the event was an eye opener, because I was not sure which career to choose. I enjoyed the practical work on the bridges. It allowed me to actually see what goes in when building and what
materials you have to take into account.”

SANRAL Southern Region Manager Mbulelo Peterson said: “Engineering is a high-Level scarce skill in the country. If we don’t invest n creating talent pipelines from high-school and university for the future, we face the risk of not having engineers to build and maintain South Africas national road network.”

The bridges were judged on aesthetics, weight and structural strength in the showdown among the 10 teams who participated.


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