'SA needs better skilled artisans'

Naledi Pandor emphasised the need for better skilled artisans and professionals in the country.

FILE: Minister Naledi Pandor (L) emphasised the need for better skilled artisans and professionals in the country. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Science and Technology says although the country's universities all have comprehensive engineering courses, it's still not producing enough skills to meet the demand.

Minister Naledi Pandor launched the African Engineering Week at the University of Johannesburg on Monday and emphasised the need for better skilled artisans and professionals in the industry.

The department's Director of Multilateral Cooperation, Cecil Masoka, says South Africa needs to produce the type of skills needed to manage the continent's growing infrastructure programs.

Masoka says engineering graduates from tertiary institutions at home must be mindful of the skills gap at municipal level.

"The major challenge, especially in terms of skills, is qualified engineers so that when you saying you going to provide roads, we have the right people with the relevant skills to be able to project manager the tenders and the work packages."

The department has raised specific concerns about the number of locals heading up businesses in the country.

Pandor says her department would like to reduce the number of foreign professionals brought in for the big projects.