Developing capacity for the local and regional water sector

by | Sep 29, 2023 | General, Training

The water sector is an increasingly challenging sector in which to work. Set within a National Policy framework, a complex set of organisations and actors operationalise the management and delivery of water services to the people of South Africa. Some of these institutions and departments require quite specific and technical skills whereas others require a broader set of skills and competencies. People are at the heart of managing water in South Africa; their knowledge, skills, and social relationships, referred to here as competencies, are all critical components of managing and governing water in South Africa. But are graduates entering into the water sector fully equipped to deal with complex issues like climate change, scenario planning and problem solving?

Many university qualifications tend to place a lot of emphasis on the technical skills component of managing water resources and managing water supply and less emphasis on other required competencies, such as communication, strategic planning and critical thinking. As one of the only private higher education institutions in the country offering water and climate change related qualifications, The IIE and more specifically the IIE MSA campus in Ruimsig, has ensured our educational offerings provide the appropriate and relevant competencies needed by the South African water sector and society as a whole.

The IIE Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management specifically targets professionals who are already working in lower to middle-level management positions as well as motivated graduates who want to begin careers that involve exercising both technical and managerial responsibilities in the water sector.  Throughout the programme, participants are nurtured to become effective water leaders equipped to understand complex societal challenges and to develop practical solutions for water, sanitation and climate related problems. A unique feature of the programme is a special focus on knowledge integration and application through the use of problem-based learning activities.

Our teaching and learning endeavours are supported by a diverse water research agenda and industry engagement. Through our research centre, the Centre for Water and the Environment, we foster excellence in water research and undertake industry engagement activities to strengthen high-impact research ventures. The IIE Master of Philosophy in Integrated Water Management students are equipped through both coursework and a research project to make a contribution to the communities in South Africa and the African continent at large. Students are also provided opportunities to develop as researchers. One such endeavour is the annual Water Security and Climate Change Symposium held at the IIE MSA campus. A key focus of the symposium is the building of capacity in the southern African context and as part of this, students are given an opportunity to present their research as well as to engage with industry thought leaders. Our aim is to develop the technical and managerial capacity of the local and regional water sector by producing highly sought after IIE water professional graduates, capable of exercising this.