Energising talent in the energy sector

August 30th, 2017, Published in Articles: Energize


The South African National Energy Association (SANEA) addressed the issue of developing “energised talent” in the local engineering talent pool at its August “Energy Rendezvous” panel discussion held in Johannesburg.

Andrew Johnson, Helena Hofmeyr, Wendy Poulton and Ken Robinson.

The energy sector requires a large amount of technically skilled employees across a variety of functions. Tertiary institutions are failing to produce graduates that meet the requirements of the sector at entry level, resulting in competition for qualified and experienced engineers in the sector.

The panel highlighted the issues and proposed solutions to combat the shortage of suitable candidates for new positions. Andrew Johnson from Aurecon said that many companies do not have the financial and time resources it takes to bring graduates up to speed with the requirements of the industry. He proposed more collaboration between the public and private sector with the colleges and universities to enable the industry to have an input on the curriculums. This will better equip graduates to enter the job market and companies will require less time and money to train them to make them job ready. This way, he said, companies may be more willing and able to take in graduates instead of leaving the training to other companies and parastatals.

Helena Hofmeyr of Sasol highlighted how the company looked at its people, processes and systems before implementing business performance projects and talent management to adequately upskill and enable employees to “fill buckets of experience” and develop their careers laterally before moving up the ladder. She also highlighted gender representation saying that meeting transformation targets is a global issue and not isolated to South Africa.

Accenture’s Ken Robinson said that what the sector needs is energised talent. Companies need to have workflows and processes which enable an environment in which employees are innovative, responsive, cooperative, effective, efficient, opinionated and adaptable to a changing engineering environment. Recognising energised talent and leaders is key to ensuring the engineering sector succeeds in providing the skills needed to meet the energy needs of the future.

It is important for engineers to invest in their careers, join associations and attend the meetings to network and stay abreast of the concerns and opportunities within the engineering fraternity, said SANEA chairperson Brian Statham.

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