The South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), a business unit of the National Research Foundation (NRF), has recently published a new book – Get SET Go – for anyone considering a career in science, engineering and technology (SET), and also for those unsure of what career path to follow.
Written for high school learners and early tertiary students, this practical resource entices students to pursue careers in science, and aims to instil in people an enthusiasm for and deeper understanding of the application of science and technology.
Making a career choice is one of life’s most important decisions, and this new book will be an invaluable resource to make learners aware of the range of career options in SET, and which path may be best for them. It includes various steps that they need to take when making a career choice. The five sections of the book cover:
- Basic issues, such as the value of a SET career, when to start planning one’s career, and choosing the right kind of institution for one’s studies.
- SET areas that are currently of great importance in South Africa, such as engineering, as well as profiles of people working in these areas – what they do, what they enjoy about their jobs and what qualifications one needs to pursue similar careers. Many of these role models had to overcome significant challenges to reach their goals and are a source of inspiration to young people.
- Profiles of some of South Africa’s top SET researchers at the cutting edge of their fields and why their work is so important to South Africa and the world.
- A “how to” section covering information on financing one’s studies, practical advice on how to apply for funding and write applications and CVs.
- Advice on where to find more information.
One of the role models featured in this book is SAICE member Segomotso Kelefetswe, a civil engineer at Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA). He became involved in career guidance more than ten years ago in a personal capacity when, while studying engineering, he realised that even he did not have that much knowledge about engineering as a career. He realised then the impact and importance that career awareness can play, so he started going out on Saturdays to rural areas in an effort to expose rural learners to the application of science in everyday life, providing them with further information on how to pursue a career in SET. His outreach has grown immensely over the years and he now serves as a point of contact for learners at one of the National Science Week sites. He asserts, “If you can talk to someone, it’s far likelier they will remember the importance of what you’ve said.”
Segomotso is also a member of the National Society of Black Engineers SA whose mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.
This book will certainly be an invaluable tool for Segomotso in his initiatives in stimulating and developing student interest in the various engineering disciplines. Young people worldwide have a critical role to play in developing new scientific strategies that will help solve problems that we don’t even know are problems yet. This book is a call to action, to help create a world where young people will contribute towards growing a representative pool of SET skills in the South African workforce.
At the launch of the book Dr Jabu Nukeri, SAASTA’s Managing Director, expressed the hope that the publication would open “worlds of opportunities for learners, thereby contributing to the human capacity development in the critical areas of SET to improve the quality of life for all the people of the Republic of South Africa.”
The book is available from SAASTA – email@example.com.