Topical Interest - Increasing Black Representation In Mining Engineering: The Need For A New Approach

Hillman, Jeffrey C.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1996
The need to recruit locally produced engineers by the South African Mining Industry led to the Engineering Faculty at the University of the Witwatersrand developing a number of academic bridging initiatives for educationally disadvantaged students. The graduation rate achieved during the initial five years of operation by the most successful of these programmes has been on a par with that of al other students but the performance of subsequent intakes has declined to such an extent that the continuance of this scheme could now be at risk. One reason for this reduction in throughput is that many of the applicants for the increasing number of mining bursaries have been more interested in the bursary than the profession and have either failed or dropped out due to a lack of application and motivation. This will have serious consequences for both Wits and the Industry if it continues and some method of identifying unsuitable or suspect applicants needs to be introduced as a mater of urgency. It is recommended that an introductory course be set up at a working mine that would be run under the auspices of Wits, as a joint venture with industry, and include a level of academic input that would provide both bridging needs and certain first year credits. The final form of this course will require extensive consultation with al parties but needs to be completed before the end of 1996. It is further recommended that the advertising and promotion of mining careers be expanded and much improved.
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