The first cohort of over 550 diverse high school learners from Johannesburg will be the first to develop their engineering identities through ‘Next Engineers’
General Electric (GE) in partnership with FHI360, PROTEC and the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) has launched the Next Engineers programme in Johannesburg to increase the diversity of young people in engineering.
The programme launch, which was officiated by the Gauteng MEC for education, Panyaza Lesufi, will provide more than 3500 students between the ages of 13 and 18 years with over five years of hands-on exposure to engineering concepts and careers, and ultimately award financial support to students pursuing engineering degrees.
Next Engineers, funded by the GE Foundation, has also been launched in cities in the USA and UK.
Since announcing the selection of Johannesburg as one of the four launch cities to implement Next Engineers globally last year, PROTEC and the GDE ensured Next Engineers garnered significant interest in the programme from high schools across Johannesburg’s five educational districts.
Approximately 1100 students have applied to be among the first to participate in the programme’s exciting Engineering Discovery, Engineering Camp and Engineering Academy pillars. Today over 550 high school learners have been selected as the first cohort of students to develop their engineering identities through programme’s Engineering Discovery and Engineering Academy pillars.
Nyimpini Mabunda, CEO of GE South Africa says, “As we slowly start recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is evident that we require more diverse solutions which will contribute to the growth of the economy. Through GE’s Next Engineers programme, we are not only exposing tomorrow’s engineers and changemakers who will solve society’s most pressing challenges to invaluable hands-on learning experiences but are playing our part in increasing the representation of females in the engineering sector”.
“The GDE welcomes this initiative and is grateful that GE will be investing in transforming our engineering sector, especially through our learners. The engineering sector has a critical role to play in ensuring that Gauteng achieves its goals as articulated in the Growing Gauteng Together Vision 2030,” said Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi.
The US$2,5-million investment in Johannesburg will cover funding to PROTEC to implement and grow the programme, provide financial support for up to 150 Engineering Academy participants and funding for tuition for 800 young people to attend Engineering Camp.
“Working with the GE Foundation is a key step to uplifting the lives of many potential engineers in Johannesburg while also contributing to the acceleration of the engineering industry. Through this collaboration we look forward to mentoring and exposing students to endless possibilities brought by the engineering sector and giving them an opportunity to turn their passion into a career in engineering”, says PROTEC CEO, Balan Moodley.
Across South Africa, while education has made vast improvements, particularly in the past 15 years, there remains various challenges regarding access to varying levels of education. The Next Engineers programme starts by raising awareness as early as age 13 (grade eight), igniting interest throughout high school (ages 14 to 18), and alleviating financial barriers to higher education through financial support.
Students, educators and the community can obtain updates and more information at www.nextengineers.org/cities/johannesburg.
About General Electric in South Africa
GE has been operating in South Africa since 1898. Today, GE celebrates over 120 years in the African market, with South Africa being the first overseas office outside the USA which opened in Johannesburg. GE businesses encompass healthcare, aviation and power – contributing to key sectors of South Africa’s economy. Through GE’s expertise and innovation, we are continuously searching for real answers to the challenges of tomorrow.
About FHI 360
FHI 360 is a nonprofit, international, human development organization dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions. Using a 360-degree approach, its team of more than 4000 professionals helps create jobs, educate children, provide lifesaving healthcare and bring about positive social change. To ensure the fidelity of the model and success of the Next Engineers program, FHI 360 provides global program management and technical assistance to GE Volunteers and local implementing organizations.
PROTEC is a leading South African non-profit organization, operating nationally in the field of STEM education since 1982. PROTEC runs an excellence programme for disadvantaged learners who have the potential and the right attitude to change the course of their lives.