Steel producer Arcelor-Mittal South Africa believes there is an opportunity for business to support initiatives aimed at improving mathematics and science at school level by developing and maintaining partnerships with educational institutions.
Group training manager Terrence Harrison highlights the importance of private companies’ contribution to their respective sectors through initiatives that will inform learners about the industry, creating an interest and excitement among potential future engineering students.
“More career guidance and marketing need to be done to create excitement about engineer- ing as a career path in general,” he says.
Harrison asserts, however, that the key to ensuring more engineering graduates is to focus on mathematics and science from as early as primary and secondary school level.
“We need to ensure that mathematics and science at primary and high school levels are improved so that learners can be absorbed into the engineering industry.”
Mittal says it is highly involved in the education of engineers through various partnerships with communities and institutions, as well as initiatives such as career expos.
One such partnership involves the Vaal University of Tech-nology (VUT). Artisans, who are based at remote plants and who are in training to become technicians, are able to participate in lectures through a virtual classroom.
The lectures are presented by VUT staff and transmitted to the remotely based artisans.
Further, Harrison mentions that the steel producer also has a learnership programme to support students at universities and technical universities through the provision of practical experience.
These graduates are permanently employed by Mittal upon receipt of their diplomas or degrees. In select instances, the company also hires students who are deemed competent before they obtain their qualifications.