Are you Engineering Active?

As Engineers we are surrounded by talk of the shortage of engineering skills, lack of interest by the school levers to enter the world of engineering and of course rapid changes in technology, to present a challenge to those who made the choice.

While the clever people solve the shortage problem, we need to do our bit as engineers to be both efficient in our daily tasks as well as being a team player and ambassador for engineering. This will not only make you a sought after resource, but also create an environment that potential engineers start wanting to associate with.

To achieve this level of excellence you need to be part of a network of like-minded people. If you are lucky enough to work in an environment where you are part of an electrical team then the sharing of knowledge and the team effect should be good. In most cases however the Electrical Engineer is working as a single entity in an organisation, or is a one man consultancy.

A good friend of mine started his consultancy about 20 years ago after being in a big electrical engineering department of a company. After a month he came round to visit and declared that he had made a big mistake. In that first instance there was no one to talk to at tea time, and secondly there were no fellow engineers to share knowledge and experiences. He felt that he had stopped growing as an engineer.

This problem is bigger now than ever. The consulting electrical industry has fragmented into smaller groups, Transnet typically used to have an electrical division with a chief electrical engineer. This is now changed as in many environments, to engineers being part of profit centres without a dedicated electrical engineering team.

It must feel like a rugby player having to train and play with a soccer team. When he gets the ball he is allowed to play like a rugby player until he passes it to another player. The end result is that he does not grow as a rugby player.
I was lucky to grow up in a family of 4 generations of engineers. Engineering was discussed over diner and on many occasions I was dragged to a new substation or cable laying project to see progress. It was easy to join an Electrical Engineering team.

So how does the modern electrical engineer ensure he is a team player and ambassador? If we don’t the profession will lose its stature and we will be the loser as individuals.

For me it seems obvious, you have to join the SAIEE and become an Active Engineer in the Institute. This does not mean you have to spend your time on committees; it would be good if you did, give us a call, however:

As an Active Engineer you need to:
  • Make sure you are registered with ECSA
  • Join the SAIEE; it will reduce your ECSA fees.
  • Attend talks and get CPD points at the same time.
  • Attend CPD courses, and learn.
  • Meet the other members and get their contact details.
  • Read the monthly newsletter.
  • Send information and articles to the secretary for publication.
And then if you are really Engineering Active you will be part of a big team of like-minded people. It is really useful when you require technical help, a new job or someone to bounce an idea off. You have the network of Engineers at your disposal.

As a fellow Electrical Engineer I have to implore you to become Engineering Active and prove to the community at large that we are an important profession.

You will reap the benefits.

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