A scarce skill in SA: Mechanical Engineer

Interested in mechanical engineering jobs on Job Mail? You have come to right place! Today the Job Mail team not only explores what a mechanical engineer is, but what the mechanical engineering job description entails.

What is Mechanical Engineering and what do they do?

A mechanical engineer merges energy and other materials to make extraordinary and truly essential feats from nothing. Almost every machine that moves exists because of the hard work of these engineers.

mechanical engineering jobs

Mechanical engineers develop, test, and construct machines and engine systems that are used at each and every stage of industrial projects. This type of engineer will design plans to create a product, produce and sustain equipment, and monitor it continuously to ensure quality at all times.

A mechanical engineer in South Africa (as well as the rest of the word) is also heavily involved in research and development, staying on the forefront of available technology and processes to continually advance the industry, and human lives overall.

In 2015, the Department of Higher Education and Training released a draft of South Africa’s top 100 scarcest skills in which engineering took over the top 3 scarcest skills and mechanical engineering coming in at the 3rd most needed skill in South Africa.

Mechanical engineering as a scarce skill means that it is an in demand skill that is needed, yet is unavailable or that the current talent pool is unqualified or is in some way not a good fit for the job. The high number of infrastructure and construction projects that are in progress or needed in South Africa alone demonstrate how essential engineers are to the progress of South African society throughout the country.

With many South African engineering and construction firms, as well as their engineering talent pursuing more projects abroad, there is now a huge gap in talent when it comes to the mechanical engineer in South Africa talent pool.

mechanical engineering job description

A Mechanical engineer must have analytical skills to solve complex problems on a daily basis. There is a huge technical aspect to this field that requires a deep understanding of multifaceted topics. This is a challenging field that can be very rewarding to any problem-solver who wants to see their products used to change lives.

Mechanical Engineering Job Description

The tasks and duties that you may see listed on a mechanical engineering job description are just a sample of all of the responsibilities that one may have in this field:

  • Researching new technology
  • Presenting findings to co-workers and clients
  • Measuring performance and monitoring equipment
  • Designing and testing models on a computer
  • Creating budgets and project specifications
  • Writing up reports
  • Checking equipment for safety compliance

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Training and Education of a Mechanical Engineer in South Africa

If you want to be a mechanical engineer, a degree is highly advantageous for its flexibility and the skills that it will afford you. With this degree, you will be qualified for more than just mechanical engineering jobs on Job Mail. The skills that you will acquire during your studies will open you up to opportunities in various fields such as automotive, energy, aerospace, factories, and mining.

Unlike some other fields, one cannot excel in this engineering career on natural skill alone. Intensive training is necessary to attain the deep understanding of mechanical engineering concepts and processes that contribute to so many of the machines and systems that we see around us every day.

mechanical engineer at work

The subjects to study before university or entering any kind of training program are mathematics and the physical sciences to best prepare you for your tertiary studies.

The one way to become a registered Professional Engineer is to attain a four year university degree in engineering specialising in mechanical engineering. After you get a Bachelor of Science in engineering, you must undergo a three year postgraduate training period during which you can proceed to apply to register as a Professional Engineer within the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).

If you decide to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree to attain your qualification, you can do so at the following universities in South Africa:

  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • University of Pretoria
  • North-West University
  • University of Stellenbosch
  • University of Cape Town
Alternate Career Paths: Mechanical Engineering Technician and Mechanical Engineering Technologist

Some other career paths within the field of mechanical engineering include mechanical engineering technician and the mechanical engineering technologist.

Technologists work alongside mechanical engineers to advise on projects and technologies. These professionals complete their jobs through ensuring project success at every phase. In this job, analysis and technical skills are a must.

mechanical engineering career paths

Technologists in this field of engineering ensure that compliance is met to industry standards and safety regulations and aid in the design, implementation, and monitoring phases to ensure that the standards are met. To be a technologist, you must register with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), the professional body of the field, before you can own the title of Professional Engineering Technologist.

For technicians, their primary job function is to support mechanical engineers and technologists by testing mechanical systems. This is carried out by collecting and analysing data, and aiding in researching, creating and preparing actual mechanical systems.

To be a technician, you must register with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) before you can own the title of Professional Engineering Technician. However, you can still work under the title Candidate Engineering Technician prior to registering with the ECSA.

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Professional bodies

The Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) is the main professional body for engineers across South Africa. The ECSA regulates the profession and is the only authorized body to register Professional Engineers thus; you must be registered with the ECSA in order to work as a Professional Engineer in any engineering field.

Another professional body, although not an official body that you need to join, is the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering. Membership into this body helps all involved to promote the profession, which is much needed in South Africa.

mechanical engineer salary

Mechanical Engineer Salary

An average mechanical engineer salary is about R325,138 per year. This figure changes based on experience and the possession of other valuable skills such as project management and expertise in Computer Aided Design (CAD).

A mechanical engineer in South Africa can be employed by a government agency, the armed forces, a consulting firm, or many major engineering, construction, or manufacturing company such as Eskom, ArcelorMittal, or Sasol Mining.

Are you a qualified mechanical engineer looking for new and exciting opportunities? Check out the mechanical engineering jobs on Job Mail and apply for great opportunities in your area by registering your CV!

A scarce skill in SA: Mechanical Engineer
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A scarce skill in SA: Mechanical Engineer
Today the Job Mail team not only explores what a mechanical engineer is, but what the mechanical engineering job description entails.
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Job Mail
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4 Responses

  1. Mandlenkosi says:

    It look quite helpful

  2. Alfred says:

    This is very useful information but can also include something about the Electrical Engineering degrees & also send to my email address.

  3. Thandi says:

    But what about other qualifications from colleges like INTEC.Are there same opportunities.

    • Jani Grey says:

      Hi Thandi,

      Different employers will have different requirements, and the skills, qualifications, and experience you have might just be exactly what they are looking for. If you find a position you are interested in, give it a shot and apply for it.

      Good luck, we hope you find something soon.
      The Job Mail Team

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