Science

Engineering and science students tap into water and sanitation experience

The City’s Water and Sanitation Graduate Intern Programme(GIP), offers career orientation training which consists of practical and experiential learning exposure in the different career streams including Engineering and Science which are identified as critical and scarce skills for the directorate. This programme is In line with the City’s Education, Training, and Development (ETD) Policy framework.

The City’s Water and Sanitation Directorate is investing in young graduates by giving them opportunities to put theory to the test in practical application settings. The project’s main objectives are outlined as follows:

• To build technical capabilities and to accelerate the graduate’s development to register with a professional body;

• Provide structured learning opportunities;

• Upskill graduates;

• An opportunity to gain structured postgraduate working experience;

• To bridge the gap between scare and critical skills.

• The graduate internship programme is segmented into three aspects namely infrastructure Skills Development Grant (ISDG), External financial support and non-service obligated graduates

• ‘Currently, there is a total of 31 graduates on the programme which includes 11 ISDG, seven service obligated and 14 non-service obligated students. Of the 31 students, five have been absorbed into permanent vacancies, effective 1 May 2022,’ said Councillor Badroodien.

The ISDG is funded by the National Treasury. This programme is managed by the City’s Corporate Learning and Development Department.

‘The purpose of the ISDG programme is to build skills capacity in the engineering and science field nationally. The graduates go through an intense, structured three-year programme, with the possibility for extension, if the student has demonstrated commitment, however, could not complete all required tasks within the three years. The ultimate goal is to get the students to register with professional bodies such as the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP).

‘Graduates are assigned to internal mentors (registered engineers and scientists) who then provide support and guidance. To further strengthen the support for the students on the road to registration, the City has appointed an external mentorship service provider to help graduates navigate the programme and give technical assistance.

‘The City also offers bursaries to external students to further their studies. The City’s Water and Sanitation directorate focuses on the engineering and science fields which are identified as critical and scarce skills for the directorate. Upon completion of their studies, the students are then placed into a three-year graduate programme as a service obligation for the bursary,’ said Councillor Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation.

Depending on the students’ progress in the graduate programme and the availability of vacancies, the students are then absorbed into permanent positions, either during or upon completion of their three years.

The directorate also recruits non-service obligated graduates into a 12 and up to a 24 -months graduate programme. The graduates are then developed and trained in specific engineering and science areas of the business to build skills capacity for the directorate.

‘This graduate intake is informed by the skills priority for the directorate as per the strategic workforce plan. In the past three years, the directorate has prioritised the science and engineering field of study. Students can be absorbed into permanent vacancies at any time during the programme,’ said Councillor Badrooodien.

The graduate programme becomes a feeder for junior technical and science vacancies, however, for graduates under the ISDG programme, absorption may be considered at any given time, however, they need to continue with their professional registration. This is due to the intense nature of the program which requires full commitment from the student. Should a graduate apply for an internal vacancy and is successful, support is still provided for the student to ultimately register.

‘The experience that I have gained so far within the Business Development section has enhanced my awareness of the importance of quality and how it can positively affect the growth and success of any business. The graduate programme has provided me with the opportunity to apply my qualifications practically and to use my knowledge and skills to make a meaningful contribution,’ said Nusrath Davids, a student in the City’s Business Improvement, Water Demand Management, Technical Services Department.

‘The City follows a fair, inclusive and transparent recruitment approach for the graduate programme, there is a graduate database which is managed by the Corporate Learning and Development department. The City periodically advertises and invites students seeking employment opportunities to register themselves onto the database and whenever the need for recruitment arises, the directorate will seek access to the database and the recruitment and selection process is then followed,’ said Cllr Badroodien.

‘Being in the Business Improvement and Innovation section has helped me gain experience and understanding of what goes into finding good and innovative solutions that can drive Water and Sanitation towards becoming a leading utility in the world. The section is continually exposing me to research, project management, internal and external stakeholder engagement and high-level report writing,’ said Samantha Hammer, also a student in the City’s Business Improvement, Water Demand Management, Technical Services Department.

Source: City Of Cape Town