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SA: GE ploughs $2.5 million in the next generation of South African engineers

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General Electric (GE), has announced a five-year, $2.5 million investment in South Africa, to launch “Next Engineers”, a global initiative focused on increasing the diversity of young people in engineering.

The company partnered with Protec, a local non-profit organisation that empowers local students to pursue and grow in STEM-based careers, to implement Next Engineers locally.

According to a statement, GE selected South Africa as one of four inaugural locations, aiming to inspire more than 3,500 local students aged 13 to 18 in grade eight to twelve, provide first-hand experiences in engineering, and award financial support to pursue further education in engineering.

Commenting, Nyimpini Mabunda, CEO, GE South Africa, said: “Our growing global economy will require more engineers to solve society’s most pressing challenges – from sustainable flight to quality healthcare and clean energy. Next Engineers allows us to expose students to the world of engineering at a young age through invaluable hands-on learning experiences.”

Earlier this year, GE committed up to $100 million to initially launch Next Engineers. Over the next decade, the goal is to reach more than 85,000 students across 25 locations globally, the company says.

Next Engineers is a program of the GE Foundation, an independent charitable organisation funded by GE. The Johannesburg cohort of Next Engineers will begin in January 2022 Students, teachers and the community can obtain updates and more information on www.nextengineers.org.

The program will offer three age-dependent inspiring programmes to engage students on their paths to engineering studies:

  • Engineering Discovery:  Students aged 13-14 in grade eight will be provided with multiple, short, one-hour exploratory experiences, and hands-on activities connecting students to real engineers to increase awareness of engineering as a viable career. Sessions will be delivered by volunteers both in the classroom and in the community.
  • Engineering Camp:   Students aged 14-15 in grade nine will develop engineering identities through a week-long immersive camp experience during school holidays. Students will interact with experienced engineering faculty and staff, complete design challenges solving real-world problems, and interact directly with professional engineers and business leaders.
  • Engineering Academy: Students aged 15-18 in grade ten to twelve will enter a three-year further education readiness programme to guide and encourage them to pursue an engineering career path. The Engineering Academy will teach students to learn, think and act like engineers. This will provide 80 hours per year of out-of-school coaching, including longer challenges, a final year project, career coaching to expose students to different engineering pathways, and further education-readiness workshops. Students accepted onto engineering apprenticeships or engineering degrees will also receive a funding contribution from the GE Foundation.

GE has been operating in the African market for more than 123 years, with Johannesburg being the first overseas office outside the USA. The company rises to the challenge of building a world that works through its expertise and innovation in healthcare, aviation and power – contributing to key sectors of South Africa’s economy.

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