Public Works recognises young professionals

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has recognised young professionals within its scope of work by hosting the 2022 Engineering Services Design Expo Awards in Kempton Park on Tuesday.
The in-house awards, aimed at acknowledging and celebrating young engineers, had 17 categories, where various skills and expertise were recognised.
In light of the country’s shortage of scarce skills, the department, through the awards, highlights its efforts to address the need for technical skills in government.
The awards further aim to expose and increase the number of built environment professionals from previously disadvantaged communities to represent the demographics of the country, and ensure transformation of the built environment industry.
Director: Capacity Building in the department, Thandeka Msibi, told SAnews that the aim of the awards is also to encourage learners at high school level to study Maths and Science.
“The department creates opportunities for learners who received bursaries from the department through internships. They are given opportunities to gain practical experience in the various department’s projects,” Msibi said.
Msibi said the awards also promote innovation from young people and recognise excellence.
The awards ceremony consisted of candidates who have obtained experience through various career paths such as architecture, landscape architecture and quantity surveying.
The nominees were beneficiaries of the department’s Bursary Project, as part of the Skills Development Pipeline Project to award bursaries to pupils from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to obtain tertiary qualifications in the built environment fields of study.
The project aims to highlight the department’s commitment to enhance and capacitate young professionals and enable them to obtain professional registration in the built environment industry.
The programme also serves as a feeder to the department’s Internship and Young Professionals Programme, which forms a sizeable pool of qualified built environment professionals to serve the department in the delivery of infrastructure projects.
Nominee Babalwa Lekganyane won the Most Dedicated National Public Works Engineering/Architectural Candidate of the Year 2022. She is an In-house Engineer at the department. With the dedication she put into her work, Lekganyane managed to get nominated. She worked with her colleagues on the renovation and expansion of the Soshanguve Magistrate’s Court.
Lekganyane said she was thrilled that her hard work is finally being recognised.
“I’d like to thank the Engineering Services of the DPWI [Department of Public Works and Infrastructure] for this opportunity and for showcasing what I’m capable of. Through these opportunities, we get to eradicate the idea that when you’re in the public sector, you can’t do much,” she said.
Another nominee, Shane Palackal, won the Best National/Provincial Candidate Supervisor’s Award. He worked on multiple projects but his standout work was the Madadeni Magistrate’s Court project. Palackal shared words of encouragement with aspiring young professionals, saying that “the world is your oyster”.
“Keep on trying. Opportunities are everywhere but you need to look in the right direction,“ he said.
Strengthening capacity
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Public Works and Infrastructure Deputy Director-General, Batho Mokhutho, said there is a need to bolster project management capacity within government.
“We have an increase in disruptions and unlawful activities by certain communities and informal business forums.
“We have engaged the CIDB [Construction Industry Development Board] to elevate the performance of contractors in their planning… We have engaged the CBE [Council for the Built Environment] to elevate the performance of consultants/professional service providers in their planning,” Mokhothu said, adding that this will go a long way in improving the time it takes to complete the department’s projects.

Source: South African Government News Agency