SANRAL creates opportunities for the youth

SANRAL is committed to identifying, developing and nurturing the talents of the next generation of engineers and artisans, through their investments in education, research and training fields. 

SANRAL CEO, Skhumbuzo Macozoma said SANRAL is focused on providing opportunities for the youth to enter the job market and grow their experience in the infrastructure sector.  

Youth unemployment is a national crisis. The youth unemployment rate in South Africa averaged 51.91% between 2013 and 2017, reaching an all-time high of 55.9% in the second quarter of 2017.  

The National Development Plan 2030 aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030.  

As an agency of the government, SANRAL is not only responsible for the provision of a national road network. Job creation and transformation are prioritised as additional outcomes of carrying out this essential responsibility.  

To fulfil this responsibility, SANRAL is committed to identifying, developing and nurturing the talents of the next generation of engineers and artisans through our investments in education, research and training fields.  

SANRAL is also focused on providing opportunities for the youth to enter the job market and grow their experience in the infrastructure sector.  

Students and learners benefit 

We support students at tertiary institutions across the country and award scholarships to high school learners, who use the opportunities provided by SANRAL to access further educational opportunities.  

The agency’s scholarship programme, now in its ninth year, has benefitted 720 high school learners.  

The scholarships include money for school fees, uniforms, books, stationery and additional mathematics classes at the Nelson Mandela University’s Missionvale campus, where they attend the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Pipeline Project (STEM PP).  

SANRAL’s bursary scheme was initiated in 2007, to provide financial assistance to students. The students are selected according to their academic performance in civil engineering subjects.  

To prepare the students for future professional careers, SANRAL helps to facilitate the process of securing vacation work on select projects. This is often a requirement for their degrees.  

Mentoring and training 

In addition, SANRAL Project Managers mentor bursary holders and provide them with assistance on practical projects as required. 

To bridge the crippling deficit of engineering skills in South Africa, SANRAL is providing graduates with invaluable work-integrated learning opportunities.  

SANRAL provides mentorship and practical training in road and bridge design for graduate candidate engineers. This training programme was introduced to equip candidates with the necessary skills and competencies to register as professionals with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) within a five-year timeframe.  

In another initiative, several graduate engineers from various tertiary institutions across South Africa have been granted a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity by being selected for SANRAL’s rapidly growing internship programme.  

This addresses the high demand for practical experience.  

Apart from the candidates receiving valuable practical work experience in a dynamic environment, the initiative is also part of SANRAL’s commitment to training and growing South Africa’s pipeline of future engineers who will design, build and maintain the country’s road infrastructure.  

In collaboration with the contractors and consultants working on SANRAL projects, the internship programme is designed to assist engineering students to fulfil the practical work experience requirements of their National Diploma.  

The internship programme is SANRAL’s way of providing skilled capacity in our communities whilst also driving social and economic transformation.  

Our commitment to promote the growth of small and medium-sized businesses, which reduces unemployment and helps build a skilled workforce, is reflected in the growing value of contracts allocated to black-owned companies, and enterprises owned by women and youth.  

Through this approach, we are contributing to the transformation of the South African economy and the empowerment of emerging contractors – many of whom are youth who receive their first experience in the construction and engineering sectors by working on SANRAL projects.  

The goal of our education, training and community development programmes is to empower South Africans to become active contributors to economic growth and development. 

This is an opinion piece by SANRAL CEO, Skhumbuzo Macozoma.