Engineering company builds capacity at UCT

24 July 2012 | Story by Newsroom

Engineering dean Prof Francis Petersen and members of the departmentSupport structure: Celebrating the new Aurecon award are (from left) bursary winner Leighton Leukes, bursary winner Janina Kanjee, engineering dean Prof Francis Petersen, Albert Geldenhuys of donors Aurecon, bursary winner Mpafane Deyi and Alphose Zingoni, head of the Department of Civil Engineering.

Three students have started reaping the rewards of a R2-million investment by engineering services company Aurecon into civil engineering postgraduate studies at UCT.

The trio from the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment became the first to receive bursaries from the Aurecon award - Mpafane Deyi, a PhD candidate whose research area is in water transport and distribution; Janina Kanjee, a master's student specialising in structural engineering; and Leighton Leukes, a master's student specialising in structural engineering and structural materials.

"The aim of the programme," explains Albert Geldenhuys, general manager for Aurecon South Africa, "is to encourage black South African students to further their studies in the fields of civil engineering. I am greatly encouraged by the work being done in the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, and look forward to the next five years."

The gains from the investment will be felt more broadly than just the students, noted Professor Francis Petersen, dean of the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment.

"It is critically important that we develop the relevant skills - not only for the economy, but also for the social needs of the country," Petersen said. "We are very grateful for Aurecon's support through this programme and look forward to strengthening our relationship with the company."

In addition to the bursary, each student recipient is assigned to a mentor, who will be available to assist and guide them during their studies.

"It has been an honour to be awarded this bursary," said Kanjee. "It is great to see that industry is prepared to support research and invest in our personal development."

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