27 Jul 2013 04:50
WINDHOEK, 27 JUL (NAMPA) - The Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) on Friday marked a significant milestone here when it produced its first-ever Mining Engineering graduates since the institution's inception about 19 years ago.
The Mining and Metallurgy Department was established in 2008, and had its first student intake in 2009 with 10 students.
The department was established to meet future mining engineering demand for Namibia, in particular, and the SADC region in general.
The graduates, who also presented their final Work-Integrated Learning projects, consist of seven women and one man.
Work-Integrated Learning is a modern, student-centred learning approach which helps students reinforce the theoretical concepts studied during lectures with the practical aspects of the field.
Speaking at the graduation occasion, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Isack Katali said the current supply of engineers and mining-related skills worldwide, including Namibia, is far below the need.
Mining engineers currently operating in our mining industry are either Namibians trained abroad or expatriates, thus the graduates in this very important field shall not only be a welcoming relief, but also a complementary effort to the mining industry in the country and indeed the Ministry of Mines and Energy, he said.
According to Katali, the PoN's effort will only be meaningful if the industry steps in to absorb the graduates, stating that it will be worthless to invest in this venture if the graduates are not brought on board in the real working world to the advantage of expatriates.
The minister advised those who have been complaining about the shortage, to take these graduates who are eager to start their careers, and to give them opportunities to start and gain experience which companies will require from them.
He further stated that it will be an insult to the government and the Polytechnic if those youngsters do not find employment in Namibia.
I have no doubt in my mind that our local new graduates will be very versatile, and shall progress rapidly within our mining industry and affiliated industries, he said.
The minister advise d the graduates to take any job that comes their way, and work themselves up as time goes by, informing them that when they get employed they should take care of their earnings and not burn their money by buying cigarettes or turn it into water by buying alcohol.