PUBLIC Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu’s recent national call for artisans and engineers (unemployed, not yet qualified and retired) to submit their CVs to a proposed database has received different reactions.

The department said the aim of the database is to contribute to job creation and the sustainability of skills as well as to help the department’s delivery on its infrastructure development mandate.

“It’s an excellent idea, very innovative. It’s a breath of fresh air to hear that sort of thinking from the minister,” said head of Wits University’s school of mechanical, industrial & aeronautical engineering, Professor Edward Moss.

“As soon as you’re retired you don’t lose your mind. Even if you’re unemployed, you can still contribute enormously to the country’s economy.”

The department’s duties involve undertaking the construction, maintenance and renovations of a large portfolio of government buildings. To be considered, one must submit a CV to the nearest national Department of Public Works office.

Various engineering students felt some uncertainty around the minister’s request.

David Wise, 4th year industrial engineering, said: “I think it’s a good initiative, I would sign up for it. But how does the database help us to get jobs? When we leave varsity we want employment.”

Kurt Crossman, 3rd year mechanical engineering, said: “Can engineers access this database themselves or is it just Public Works? When you leave school you want to go into specific areas [and] they don’t specify [whether one can do that].”

Other students understood the message in a different light. Nakedi Kekana, 4th year electrical engineering, said: “It’s quite useful because most of the time people always talk about the lack of engineers, but I think it’s more of a lack of experience. There’s a shortage of professional engineers because to be a professional you need experience.”

David Ndeevelo, 3rd year mechanical engineering, said it was a good idea because it seemed they were trying to monopolise on the use and availability of engineers by having them all in one place.