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Candidate engineer plans to specialise in hydraulic structures

Infrastructure damage after KwaZulu-Natal floods assessed

Yajvin Rajcoomar is a young candidate engineer with the Department of Water and Sanitation.
Yajvin Rajcoomar is a young candidate engineer with the Department of Water and Sanitation.
Image: Vukuzenzele

Yajvin Rajcoomar is a young candidate engineer with the department of water and sanitation (DWS).

A candidate engineer is a graduate who has to complete and meet requirements set out by the Engineering Council of South Africa to become a registered professional engineer.

“I graduated three years ago with a degree in civil engineering from the University of KZN [UKZN] and immediately went to work for the DWS on a four-year graduate programme as a candidate engineer,” says Rajcoomar.

The duties of a candidate engineer differ, depending on their field of work. The water-engineering field mainly focuses on the continuous development, maintenance and risk management associated with water infrastructure.

Potential risks include injury and loss of life due to infrastructure failure, damage to the environment and the overall impact of water infrastructure on the country’s economic growth. Reducing and managing these risks form part of the duties of an engineer.

Rajcoomar was part of the engineering team responsible for assessing infrastructure damage after the recent KwaZulu-Natal floods.

“I was tasked with compiling high-level conditional assessments of damaged infrastructure in district municipalities,” he says.

Rajcoomar’s passion for engineering stems from his curiosity about how things work and operate.

He is currently doing his master of engineering, specialising in hydraulic structures, at the University of Witwatersrand. “Earning a master’s degree helps you gain specialised knowledge to obtain a competitive edge in your field. As the workforce evolves, a master’s degree shows dedication to enhancing your expertise and credibility,” says Rajcoomar.

How to become an engineer

If you would like to study civil engineering, you must matriculate with a minimum of 70% in mathematics and physical science. Rajcoomar suggests that you also consider information technology and engineering graphics and design as additional subjects.

As a youth in SA, Rajcoomar feels extremely honoured to be part of the DWS because it enables him to contribute towards improving the lives of citizens across the country.  

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