The SAICE Johannesburg branch Committee (SAICE JHB branch committee), as part of its annual strategy session, identified the need for a platform to celebrate the engineering excellence that exists amongst our Young Professionals (Professionals who are younger than 35 years of age). It was noted that the Civil Engineering fraternity is very good at taking ownership of their primary responsibility as an agent of social change, but it relatively falls short when it comes to showcasing its achievements. It was also noted that the involvement of Young Professionals at the SAICE branch level left much to be desired and that something needed to be done to remedy this.
It was for this reason that the SAICE JHB branch took a decision to establish a forum to address the above mentioned issues, so as to further fulfil its mandate as a branch of SAICE.
SAICE Avant-garde Forum Overview
After much deliberation, it was unanimously agreed that the forum would be called the “SAICE Avant-garde Forum”. The contemporary meaning for the word avant-garde means a grouping that is primarily involved with the advancement of its field of expertise, chiefly through the use of unorthodox and/or experimental methods. The Forum will take the form of a showcase, where Young Professionals will give an overview of a project they have been involved in, with the majority of their presentation focused on what contribution they made to the success of the project, with a particular emphasis on the use of unique and/or unorthodox methods or technology. Alternatively, a Young Professional could make a presentation on a subject matter that is in the research and development stage, with an emphasis on the practicality and realistic potential of their recommendations, with adequate referencing that would be typically required for a post-graduate Thesis.
What we want attendees to take away from the Forum, is a better appreciation for the amazing work that Young Professionals are undertaking, as well as providing them with a platform where they can share some of the ideas and research they are developing to further push the envelope on what Engineering means.
The objectives of the “The SAICE Avant-garde Forum” can be summarised as follows:
- Provide a platform for SAICE member firms to showcase their excellence and market their brand.
- Showcase what Young Professionals within the Civil Engineering space are capable of.
- Provide a platform for the Engineering fraternity at large to meet, share knowledge and network.
- To entice Young Professionals to get involved at the branch level of SAICE.
- Expose tertiary students to the big industry role players and what ingenuities are being developed.
Format of the Forum
The forum, as well as all its preceding preparations, will entail the following:
- SAICE will send out an invitation to partake in the SAICE Avant-garde Forum to all its members.
- The closing date for applications will be 2 June 2017, where after all the applications will be collected for adjudication.
- A panel will be set-up by SAICE and the adjudication process will be undertaken in a free and fair manner.
- The successful candidates will be informed after which the presenters will be called in for a preliminary presentation session. The purpose of this preliminary session is to provide an interactive platform between the planning committee and the presenters, so that all the stakeholders are better informed on what will be presented on the day of the Forum.
- The SAICE Avant-garde Forum will take place in June 2017. The venue will be confirmed in due course. Each presenter will be given 15min presentation time and 5-10 min Q&A with the audience.
Note: The Forum is not limited to completed projects and Young Professionals who are involved in projects that are still in progress or in the Concept stage, are more than welcome to apply. The Forum is also open to Young Professionals who have ideas that are still in Research and Development stage, provided they can motivate the feasibility of their idea.
As with all SAICE related matters, the success of this event greatly depends on the involvement of our SAICE member firms. The future roll-out of this event will depend on the feedback received, but our intention is that this be an event that not only takes place more than annually, but that our region be the prototype for a possible national roll-out of the SAICE Avant-garde Forum.