CESA honours 10 BCE graduates

Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) honoured ten graduates of the Business of Consulting Engineering (BCE) programme in a ceremony held on the 8th June 2015.
The BCE, which is now in its fourth year is highly successful and the programme is presented at the CESA’s School of Consulting Engineers.


The objective of the programme is to equip consulting engineering staff with the non-technical skills which form an integral part of the work of a consulting engineer, but which are not taught as part of an engineer’s normal tertiary education.

The course is intensive, and it teaches the students about our consulting engineering environment, inter-personal skills, business and project finance, and legal and contractual matters. It takes the student through all the duties and activities normally undertaken by a consulting engineer during the delivery of a construction project. The programme provides a unique opportunity for staff to broaden their knowledge and acquire skills which otherwise would need to be provided from within the firm over a longer period of time.

The BCE programme is not just another training course. It is a full-on tertiary education programme aimed mainly at post-graduate engineers and technologists, although it is also suitable for other technical staff, and for more senior engineering personnel employed in a consulting engineering firm. It has been designed at the level of a recognized tertiary qualification. It is aimed at engineers and technologists who have the potential to rise rapidly towards senior levels of management and responsibility in their firms and bring with them the skills and capability required at such levels.

During his address, CESA Acting CEO Wally Mayne reiterated that the lack of investment in the development of engineering human resources over many years in the past has resulted in the skewed and unbalanced distribution of engineers.  When the graph of the number of engineers plotted against the age of engineers, the picture that emerges is a graph of two peaks with the older (close to retirement) engineers on one peak and young (recently graduated) engineers on the other with a trough of middle management between the two peaks.

“The immediate challenge is the constraint faced by middle management engineers in experiential training of the upcoming young engineers. The BCE course seeks among other things, to bridge this gap in human resources and fast track migration to junior and middle management in a career in consulting engineering,” said Mayne.

He added that having completed the BCE programme, the graduate are well-equipped and better-equipped to overcome the many challenges currently facing the consulting engineering sector, which finds itself in a tough economic environment. He cited procurement, an uninformed client and lack of work as other pressing challenges that the sector faces.

Without exception all students have been highly complimentary about the programme and the following is a sample of comments made by the class of 2014:

“The BCE is like a mini-MBA for consulting engineers. The program provides young and experienced professionals with an excellent understanding of what the industry is about and how successful consulting engineering businesses are run. One of the most valuable experiences of my career” - Gustav Brand

“The course facilitators have a wealth of knowledge from a diverse background. Their delivery method of sharing this knowledge has given me great clarity and confidence in my work environment. Furthermore the content is relevant and fundamental in understanding myself, my project and my company in the industry.
I am thankful for this opportunity given to me and would recommend this course for potential leaders in the industry” - Mark Moore-Gordon

The course runs from February to December each year and a maximum of 25 students are accommodated, who attend three one-week contact sessions in Johannesburg, combined with the preparation and submission of written assignments and activities during their own time. All work is evaluated and the students write an exam at the end of the year. Only successful students are awarded a certificate of competency.


Front row from left to right:
Yuan-Shun Lin -WSP Group Africa, Dyke Ramokotjo –WSP Group Africa, Makotsene Makgalemele-HHO Africa, Wally Wayne- Acting CEO CESA, Lelethu Thiso-Illiso Consulting

Back row from left to right:
Gustav Brand-Aurecon, Pieter Smit-Lateran Bouwer Civil and Structural Engineers, Mark Moore-Gordon-MPA Consulting Engineers

Not photographed: Kimberley McGregor-SMEC South Africa, Karlien nee Rousseau Brink- Bigen Africa and Neil Slingers -SMEC South Africa