MULTINATIONAL General Electric (GE) has made a five-year, $2.5-million investment in Johannesburg to launch Next Engineers – a global initiative focused on increasing the diversity of young people in engineering.
GE has selected Johannesburg as one of four inaugural locations, aiming to inspire more than 3 500 local learners aged 13 to 18, to provide first-hand experiences in engineering and to award financial support to pursue further education in engineering.
GE is partnering with South African nonprofit organisation Protec, which empowers local students to pursue and grow in science, technology, engineering and mathematics- (STEM-) based careers, to implement Next Engineers locally.
Earlier this year, GE committed up to $100-million to launch Next Engineers globally.
Over the next decade, the goal is to reach more than 85 000 students across 25 locations globally.
GE South Africa CEO Nyimpini Mabunda says the initiative allows GE to “expose students to the world of engineering at a young age through invaluable hands-on learning experiences”.
Next Engineers will not only provide a platform for Johannesburg’s young people from different backgrounds to bring their unique perspectives to engineering but also empower them to foster the skills needed to “build a world of the future that works”.
We recognise that, for us to make a sustainable impact, we must be deliberate in our efforts to support social change,” Mabunda comments.
Next Engineers is a programme of the GE Foundation, an independent charitable organisation funded by GE.
The programme will offer three age-dependent, inspiring programmes to engage students on their paths to engineering studies.
These programmes include engineering discovery, aimed at learners aged 13 and 14; an engineering camp, aimed at learners aged 14 and 15; and the engineering academy, which is aimed at learners aged between 15 and 18.
Next Engineers will begin accepting applications for the Engineering Academy in January 2022. Students, teachers and the community can obtain updates and more information at www.nextengineers.org