Young professional consulting engineers in Africa are gearing up to change the narrative.
The young professionals of FIDIC GAMA are coming up with lots of interesting ideas to key industry issues. These were the outcome of a pre-conference event titled, leadership and development at the 26th annual FIDIC GAMA 2019 Conference. Happening in Kampala Uganda, these young professionals are exploring various issues affecting the industry.
CHALLENGES FACING YOUNG PROFESSIONAL CONSULTING ENGINEERS IN AFRICA
Growth and responsibility potential:
First on the list is the growth and responsibility potential within consulting firms. After much deliberation, it was quite obvious that some organisations in Africa have a hard time transferring knowledge to the next generation. For instance, there is a lack of well structured career development plan for young professionals, this is more prevalent especially in medium and small sized firms. Engineers in these kind of firms are confined to only technical roles without any exposure to essential business management activities. Hence, you will find that most engineers do not make great business people!
In this situation, a well structured professional development template from the local engineering associations can help in guiding the graduate and employer. For example, CESA School of Consulting Engineer has numerous offerings for personal development like the Business of Consulting Engineering (BCE).
Salaries and earning potential:
Second on the list is the salaries and earning potential as a young graduate engineer. While it is essential to be passionate about serving society, the need to be comfortable must also be satisfied. For this reason, most graduate engineers are leaving the sector for other attractive industries. This is not sustainable for the industry, hence a solution is salary surveys. These surveys will be useful for gauging industry pay standard while protecting employer and employee.
As the world is modernising, it is imperative for young professionals to embrace diversity. Hence, FIDIC have set up a task force aimed at improving diversity and inclusivity in the industry. The task force will first access the state of activities across all member associations and consulting engineering firms. In essence, collecting, developing and disseminating global best practices and successes on diversity and inclusivity initiatives.
Lastly, participants deliberated on ethical consideration in the consulting engineering industry. The environment greatly influences professional ethics; which are the moral principles governing behaviours and the conducting of activities. Importantly, the level of poverty can be an enabler for unethical behaviour. It is therefore, a collective duty of professionals to shun unethical behaviour by engaging in awareness initiatives aimed at curbing ignorance. Note: it begins with “YOU”.
To round up the evening, young African professionals were charged to become engineers of the future. Africa needs engineers who are confident, and are willing to break the boundary of their technical abilities. Becoming more innovative in solving problems by using new solutions that harness the potential of digitalisation. Achieving this requires more collaboration among professionals in other industries and across the continent.