Concrete research, durability, rehabilitation and design are all specialist skills that could hold the key for many civil engineering students to become much sought-after specialist consultants in the industry. These are the words of Dr Moses Kiliswa, senior lecturer at the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of KZN.
He was speaking at the launch of the Cement & Concrete SA KZN branch’s “Careers in Concrete” initiative in which two University of KZN civil engineering students will be awarded experiential work opportunities at concrete-related enterprises in the province.
The selected students will be given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience during university vacations at the Durban operations of Contest and Naidu Consulting. Contest, established in 1984, is a leading KZN service provider in concrete testing and technology, while Naidu Consulting is a respected national consulting engineering firm established in 1999.
Dr Kiliswa addressed students during the online launch of “Careers in Concrete” and explained that the concrete industry offers diverse career opportunities for qualified civil engineers who will inevitably have to deal with concrete issues throughout their careers.
Kerusha Ayer from Naidu Consulting and Donovan Leach of Contest summarised some of the wide-ranging concrete projects that their companies were currently individually involved in. One project mentioned was conducting tests to determine the extent of, and remedial measures for, deteriorating bridge structures in KZN. These tests included establishing compressive strength, durability, thickness of concrete cover, chloride profiling and carbonisation. Consulting engineers would have to decide on appropriate repair methods, which is a typical infrastructural preservation role one would perform as part of a career in concrete.