Government ’s massive infrastructure drive is not only changing the country’s landscape and creating jobs but also opening up a whole new world to schoolchildren.
Government has identified infrastructure as one the key drivers for job creation and launched 18 Strategic Infrastructure Projects to help achieve this.
With about R860 billion rand spent on infrastructure development from 2009 to the end of March 2013, significant progress has been made.
Schoolchildren from the Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape, got to witness this first hand recently when they visited the Mthatha N2 Bridge, which is nearing completion.
The bridge is one of the Presidential Projects in the King Sabatha Dalindyebo Municipality. Mthatha was declared a Rapid High Impact Presidential Intervention Node in 2009. The intervention was intended to address infrastructure backlogs and service delivery challenges and fully revitalise Mthatha through projects such as the Mthatha airport, roads, water, sanitation and electricity projects.
The excited learners of St Johns College visited the bridge to learn more about the world of civil engineering and construction.
They were accompanied by the school’s principal Zolisa Magaqa who said watching the construction of the bridge unfold first hand was better than any career exhibition.
“At our school all the learners are doing mathematics and physical science as compulsory subjects, which gives them more options to pursue engineering - one of the scarce skills in our country. At the site the learners realised the many job and skills development opportunities associated with infrastructure development,” he added.
This is what the learners had to say about the tour of the bridge:
During the visit I saw all the different types of equipment and what they are used for. It is good to have this bridge close to our school so that we can come here and learn about how it is being built.
During the site visit, I learnt more about Civil Engineering with the assistance of our leading person, Kumkani Dlulani who told us about all the precautionary measures even before we got to the site. Out of the six categories of Civil Engineering, I liked Transport Engineering the most.
Listening to the presentation I learnt about how civil engineering works and the six different categories – transport, structural, technical, environmental, water and railway engineering. Now I am clear about which category I want to get involved in to do the work I will enjoy.
The visit was very interesting and out of the six categories I want to do transport engineering because I like road services. The presentation taught me about how engineers manage their work.
Before I came to the site I had little knowledge about civil engineering. Now that I know what it is about, I realise that I want a career in construction engineering so I can plan structures such as bridges and roads. The exposure we received was a great opportunity for me to learn more and helped me a lot.
I gained a lot of knowledge during the site visit, which will help me decide what career to pursue. It was very interesting to find out how to start constructing a bridge from scratch.
* Sabelo Kakaza works for GCIS in the Eastern Cape.