Alicia Pillay, from Isipingo, Durban; Nhlakanipho Mnguni, who hails from Umlazi near Durban and Ndimphiwe Mangqishi from Umtata in Eastern Cape were all smiles as they were honoured at a ceremony, held at the world-renowned ATNS Aviation Training Academy, for successfully completing an intensive ATNS Engineering Graduate Development Programme (EGDP).

The three are University of Kwa-Zulu Natal BSc (Hons) electronic engineering and computer engineering degree graduates.

The establishment of ATNS EGDP was motivated by an urgent need to enhance efforts to recruit much needed human resources within the organisation’s operations technology department (OTD). With a high shortage of specialised engineering skills in the aviation sector, candidates are currently sourced directly from either final year students at suitable South African Universities or from industry.

ATNS CEO, Thabani Mthiyane says the company is now in a better position to produce world-class engineers to serve the aviation sector. "We are delighted to see a growing interest in careers aviation and continue to put more effort in introducing many more students to the sector through our tertiary institution campaigns. We are well on our way to building the Africa we want," concludes Mthiyane. Since the EGDP started in 2014, seven engineering graduates have to date become beneficiaries.

To further develop skills in this sector and ensure that there is always a pool of engineers to fill various vacancies within this space, six all-female engineering learnership students also completed their National Diploma Experiential Training II (P2) on Friday. This programme will enable them to obtain a National Diploma qualification in electrical engineering or computer systems. Nondumiso Mhlongo, Letshego Mokhoetsi, Anka Human, Tembisa Madlala, Sinovuyo Mpofu and Zinhle Dladla were absorbed from various institutions of higher learning across the country after a rigorous recruitment and selection process. They all joined the programme in January 2015.

The ATNS EGDP and Engineering Learnership programmes effectively contribute to the South African Government’s National Skills Development Programme.