Building dreams through roads

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”– Nelson Mandela.

Helping others ends up as helping yourself and this could be a way to describe what the country’s road agency does in the field of education. You may ask yourself, what does a road agency have to do with education?

South Africa needs engineers, so does SANRAL and that is a common interest they have. The agency has stepped in to assist with full bursaries and internships and in this way it helps itself as well as the country.

Mercy Masia, a Wits University Senior Student is pursuing her objective of becoming a civil engineer, and a beneficiary of a full SANRAL bursary. Masia says she thoroughly enjoys the workshops arranged by the agency as they provide her with the practical insight and the experience required for her future career path.

The biggest challenge Masia is facing is to ensure that all her work gets done in time. Although she enjoys recreational reading, she often reads her textbooks for the coming semester during holidays so she can get ahead and be prepared.

A true athlete at heart, Masia enjoys participating in sport. Her advice to anyone who wants to follow her path is “use every minute.” She emphasizes that it is very important to get as much as possible, and time must never be wasted if it can be used in a constructive manner.

Internships provide vital work experience

ER scholarship induction

Practical experience is an important factor to gain skills and more opportunities in different industries. As such, SANRAL provides internships to engineering students at various institutions in South Africa to equip them with practical work experience as required by the degree curriculum.

This programme is implemented in cooperation with contractors and consultants working with SANRAL. In the 2013/14 financial year, 196 students received internships and vacation jobs from the agency and 17 were employed by SANRAL and its stakeholders, including companies, contractors and consultants. This represents an increase of 5% compared to the previous financial year.

In terms of a performance agreement between SANRAL and the Minister of Transport the number of internships offered should be equal to 10% of staff complement. However, because of the high demand for practical experience within the engineering fields SANRAL has exceeded this requirement and now offers internship opportunities equivalent to 70% of the agency’s staff complement.