Sometimes two weeks can seem like a lifetime, or they can pass all too quickly. It all depends on whether you are five years old, waiting for your birthday party, or 18 and swotting for your exams. For me the last two weeks have been a blur – and at the same time one of the most worthwhile periods in my life.

On the academic front, we visited the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town and the University of Johannesburg to strengthen relationships, share knowledge and to understand how SAICE can play an ongoing role in the life of the department and the lives of the students – and we also met the students. What a revelation that was! While we still have academics with passion and students with enthusiasm, civil engineering has a bright future.

Of course, as always in life, the level of passion and enthusiasm varies, but the formula for progress is active participation. A wise friend told me “don’t complain about your handicap if you are never out there on the golf course!”.  With the encouragement of a member of staff or the Head of Department, these young people can take their prospects for future careers to new levels through the networking opportunities offered by SAICE.

This week saw the finals of the IP Showdown where the best research projects from the final year students at the universities were presented. To watch Thabani Mtsie from Stellenbosch winning over the adjudicators and audience was inspirational.

Bridgette Kerst chaired the diversity panel on a journey towards true inclusivity in the industry. Again, articulate and impassioned young people led the way and we made good progress. The diversity workshop was followed by a working dinner with the student chapter chairs and the YMP. The next day included a presentation at the Cape Town Branch meeting and a further chance to engage with the students and their “more experienced” counterparts.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring.



Click here to view highlights from SAICE President Brian Downie’s visit to Cape Town.



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