SAICE-PDP has a sound track record of guiding and managing graduate training. This is achieved through the development of training plans, ensuring that adequate supervision and coaching is in place and providing mentors to oversee and monitor progress.
The engineering life cycle
To develop the outcomes required by ECSA, graduates need to be exposed to a range of activities in the engineering life cycle, appropriate to their organisation and discipline. SAICE-PDP develops procedures and structured workplace training plans to ensure candidates are exposed to relevant aspects of the cycle. Detailed activities are planned to ensure that candidates are functionally competent to meet the requirements of ECSA and can perform the type work carried out by their employer. If it isn’t possible to gain all the experience required within the candidate’s department or organisation, arrangements for rotations or secondments are made. Typically, when there is no opportunity to design in the public sector, candidates are seconded to consulting firms appointed by the organisation on one or more projects.
Graduates are expected to register as candidates with ECSA, or their relevant Professional Body or Statutory Council. On completion of tasks or projects, they are expected to write up training and experience reports and participate in reviews with their mentors and supervisors, three or four times per annum, to ensure that they are making progress. As they develop, more complex work is assigned to ensure that they develop to the level required for professional registration. The systems, procedures, and web-based reporting programmes that SAICE-PDP has developed, ensure that the candidates are constantly aware of their development, progress and levels of responsibility attained. This forms the basis for planning the next phase of their development.
Development of the required skills generally cannot be achieved in less than three years. The key success factor for achieving early registration, is having adequate professional and organisational support throughout the process to ensure that appropriate training activities are identified, at increasing appropriate levels of complexity and responsibility. Successful planning and development is dependent on the availability of competent supervisors to assign appropriate workplace activities to develop the competence levels that meet the requirements of Professional Body or Statutory Councils. SAICE-PDP plays a major role in providing support and external supervision/coaching where engineering supervision is not available internally, to ensure that candidates progress within acceptable timeframes.