Institutions of higher learning have been challenged to organise seminars and training that seek to equip engineering students with soft skills required in industry. The essential soft skills include leadership, project management, effective communication and emotional intelligence, critical problem solving, networking, morals and ethics as well as basic timekeeping.
According to presentations and discussions that took place during the ‘Exchange visit: Higher Education Partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa’ programme held at the MSU Zvishavane Campus on Monday, 25th February 2019, some university graduates lack these important soft skills when they join industry.
Delivering a presentation on ‘Industry Expectations,’ Head of Growth Projects at Mimosa Mining Company, Engineer Steve Ndiyamba said while it is greatly appreciated that extensive ground was by covered in engineering programmes at university, there is a need to incorporate soft skills in such programmes to enable students to adapt to the needs of the current trends in the industry.
‘Another area which requires attention increasingly which we are not adequately emphasizing judging from what I saw here, is safety and the culture of safety. For us that is critical. Someone spoke about the miners who died last week in Kadoma just as an example. It`s an area that is not covered enough in our studies in my view and universities could invest a bit more in that area and also influence the outside a bit in that area,’ he noted.
The MSU Executive Dean of Mining and Minerals Processing Engineering Dr Anthony Mamuse said the main objective of the meeting was to discuss the Royal Academy of Engineering Project where the Faculty is partnering mining companies as well as local and foreign universities.
‘We hope this is going to be an exciting exchange of ideas to make sure that we extract value out of our minerals some of which are being neglected. We want to extract that value and grow our economy and grow our country,’ said Dr Mamuse.
Various challenges that include lack of equipment, laboratories, low staff availability and a shortage of foreign currency were identified as some of the major drawbacks in all universities offering engineering degrees. During the event, delegates were also afforded the opportunity to tour the Faculty of Mining and Minerals Processing Engineering to enable them to identify the equipment currently in use as well as gaps where the faculty needs assistance.