Civil engineers needed
Omar Sweeney, secretary of the Jamaica Institution of Engineers (JIE) says there is a "serious void" in the job market for civil engineers.
The situation is worsened annually, he claims, by the fact that the only school that graduates engineers is in Trinidad and Tobago "from which we do not get them back because of the oil and gas industry in that country".
They also migrate to the United States to work, said Sweeney, who is also the general manager for technical services at the Jamaica Social Investment Fund.
The engineering faculty at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus, revealed that 39 individuals graduated in 2008 with the Master of Science in 'civil engineering and the environment', and one with the Master of Philosophy degree.
The spokesperson could not state the number of Jamaicans among the lot, nor could she say if the number of graduates was on the decline.
President of the JIE, Joseph Ayee, seems to believe it was on the decline.
"We are not only losing them to Trinidad, but fewer are graduating. That is the problem," Ayee told Sunday Business.
"Secondly, we are losing them to outside competition from the United States and some are gone as far away as South Africa. They are recruited far and wide - not only in the Caribbean."
Conversion of resources
Civil-engineering management involves the conversion of resources to social, commercial and recreational and general infrastructure, including roads, bridges, buildings, airports, seaports, dams, water supply, beaches, marinas, ports and harbours, recreational facilities and environmental plants and systems - all as integrated components of civil infrastructure and facilities that support towns, cities, countries and regions.
The JIE's membership comprises not only civil, but other engineering disciplines.
Ayee said he could not immediately extrapolate the numbers for civil engineers.
"We cannot indicate a figure, but there is a strong need in terms of queries coming into our office," he said.
"In addition, the firms themselves who are members of the JIE have been asking for civil engineers. As to the exact numbers, we would not be able to say."
In recognition of the need, the University of Technology is in the process of developing a civil engineering programme, says dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment, Dr Carol Archer, which is likely to be launched in the 2009-10 academic year which kicks off in September.
There is a high demand for graduates of the Faculty of Engineering, it is stated on the UWI St Augustine engineering website.
The faculty points out that its programmes are accredited by leading British professional institutions internationally and that it provides students with the opportunity to interact with business leaders and to be exposed to the very latest thinking in all fields.
The cooperative programme involves a full-year internship for students who are placed with firms and undergo supervised, practical training.
Last updated: April 20, 2009
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