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Engineering Activity and Professional Competency

Posted By Malcolm Black, Friday, 08 November 2019

The evidence of engineering activity is all around us. The homes we live in, the cars we drive, the telephones we talk on and the medical equipment we have to help us diagnose and treat our health issues. It is not possible to look around the built environment and not notice something that is the result of engineering activity. We live today very much in an engineered world. Further, this engineered world has very definite levels of complexity easily observed as we look around. From the “simple” piece of steel that is called a crowbar and used as a lever to get something moved to the hugely complex pieces of equipment that float around in space creating a network of communication devices that have become an integral part of our daily lives. Not so simple You may have noticed that the word simple was placed in inverted commas. Is the crowbar that “simple”? What material is it made of? How was that material made? How was the crowbar formed into the tool that is used in so many situations? How are similar crowbars (levers) used in various combinations of increasing complexity that form the various parts of machines used in our everyday lives. All this requires engineers who are competent to participate in complex engineering activities. Competence is a fundamental requirement of a complex evolving society. We have recently been informed that the South African population is approaching 60 million people. We are also told that close to 10 million are without work. Many do not have the basic requirements to live meaningful lives because of endless struggles with poverty. These Malcolm Black are complex problems requiring competent people to solve them. Professionals needed The SAIMechE has recognized the need for competent professionals to participate in the process of building a functional nation. Competence measured by objective assessment criteria that avoid any cultural, racial or gender “gate keeping” accusations. A Professional Development Programme that will enable graduates to develop the skills and levels of competence to make a valuable contribution to society has been developed. A competence developed through a guided interaction with experienced, accredited and competent mentors within commercial environments that are project oriented and deal with daily concerns and fundamental needs and issues. Candidate engineers, engineering business and society in general could benefit from this programme by giving support to it through participation, financial commitment and an awareness that without the involvement of competent engineers many of our complex societal problems may not be solved. The SAIMechE, through its numerous branches, is committed to serving the needs of its members and the community at large by providing this service.

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