THE first cohort of over 550 diverse high school learners from Johannesburg will be the first to develop their engineering identities through 'Next Engineers' after General Electric (GE) in partnership with FHI360, PROTEC and the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE launched the Next Engineers programme in Johannesburg to increase the diversity of young people in engineering here last week.
March 1, 2022
3 min read
General Electric launches Next Engineers programme
Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi
- Approximately 1100 students have applied to be among the first to participate in the programme
- The total $2.5 million USD investment in Johannesburg will cover funding to PROTEC to implement and grow the programme
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The programme launch, which was officiated by the Gauteng MEC for education, Panyaza Lesufi, will provide more than 3500 students between the ages 13 to 18 over five years with hands on exposure to engineering concepts and careers, and ultimately award financial support to students pursuing engineering degrees.
Next Engineers, funded by the GE Foundation, has also been launched in Cincinnati, Ohio and Greenville, South Carolina in the United States of America, and Staffordshire in the U.K. Since announcing the selection of Johannesburg as one of the four launch cities to implement Next Engineers globally last year, PROTEC and the GDE ensured Next Engineers garnered significant interest in the programme from high schools across Johannesburg’s five educational districts.
In fact, approximately 1100 students have applied to be among the first to participate in the programme's exciting Engineering Discovery, Engineering Camp and Engineering Academy pillars. Today over 550 high school learners have been selected as the first cohort of students to develop their engineering identities through programme's Engineering Discovery and Engineering Academy pillars.
"As we slowly start recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is evident that we require more diverse solutions that will contribute to the growth of the economy”, said Nyimpini Mabunda, CEO of GE South Africa.
“Through GE's Next Engineers programme, we are not only exposing tomorrow's engineers and changemakers who will solve society's most pressing challenges to invaluable hands-on learning experiences but we are playing our part in increasing the representation of females in the engineering sector".
Gauteng Education MEC, Mr. Panyaza Lesufi said: “As the GDE, we welcome this initiative and are grateful that GE will be investing in transforming our engineering sector, especially through our learners. As we are aware, the engineering sector has a critical role to play in ensuring that Gauteng achieves its goals as articulated in the Growing Gauteng Together Vision 2030".
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The total $2.5 million USD investment in Johannesburg will cover funding to PROTEC to implement and grow the programme, provide financial support for up to 150 Engineering Academy participants and funding for tuition for 800 youth to attend Engineering Camp.
"Working with the GE Foundation is a key step to uplifting the lives of many potential engineers in Johannesburg while also contributing to the acceleration of the engineering industry”, said PROTEC CEO Mr. Balan Moodley.
“Through this collaboration we look forward to mentoring and exposing students to endless possibilities brought by the engineering sector and giving them an opportunity to turn their passion into a career in engineering".
Across South Africa, while education has made vast improvements, particularly in the past 15 years, there remains various challenges regarding access to varying levels of education. The Next Engineers programme starts with raising awareness as early as age 13 (grade eight), igniting interest throughout high school (ages 14 to 18), and alleviating financial barriers to higher education through financial support. eNCA
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