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Leiper points to success of partnering in South Africa

ICE news

PARTNERING IN civil engineering was the dominant theme of ICE President Quentin Leiper's first major overseas presidential visit to South Africa last month.

The use of the NEC engineering and construction suite of contracts, that places partnering at its heart, is growing in South Africa's booming construction industry.

Upon his arrival in Johannesburg, Leiper met with the author of NEC Contracts Martin Barnes to discuss a series of workshops held in the city.

In his blog of the trip Leiper explained: 'Following some well-attended NEC events in South Africa last November it was felt that some briengs from 'Mr NEC' [Barnes] would help to promote a greater understanding of the NEC procurement route, especially after the launch of the new NEC suite of contracts last year.' Partnering with the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) was also a key part of the trip. 'We have 430 members in South Africa and a good chunk of those are members of the SAICE. We wanted to give those members support and encourage our sister institution, ' said Leiper.

The skills shortage in South Africa, combined with a massive boom in infrastructure investment, has created a challenging climate for engineers (NCE 25 January). 'And it is even worse in Zimbabwe, ' said Leiper, following a meeting with president of the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers Martin Manuhwa.

Engineers are migrating from Zimbabwe to South Africa and from South Africa to the Middle East. They have a big skills shortage, but the security scenario means that many graduates move away.' South Africa's high attrition rate of young engineers could be eased by yet another form of partnership, said Leiper.

'We need to focus on the value of engineering knowledge through mentoring and development of young people. We have to stretch and motivate them, ' he said.

To find out more about the visit read the president's blog at www. ice. org. uk.

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