Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
UKZN Planning Graduates to Gain Work Experience

The work integrated learning approach is a structure that has been widely implemented in many tertiary institutions across the country. Much emphasis has been placed in combining theory with practice. This method ensures that students are able to gain the adequate knowledge and skills which are a prerequisite in any workforce today. In keeping with this revolution, five Master students in the field of Town and Regional Planning from the University of KwaZulu-Natal were recently inducted into eThekwini Municipality as graduate interns. 

The pilot graduate internship programme is an initiative between the University of KwaZulu Natal’s’ (UKZN) School of Architecture, Planning and Housing; eThekwini’s Development Planning and Environmental Management Unit; Skills Development Unit and the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE). The programme is a direct result of our recently signed MOA between eThekwini Municipality and Durban –based tertiary institutions. 

During the conceptualising period that began last year officials and academics were mindful of the gap that exists between theory and work experience. Thus this programme was created to boost the number of recognised professional planners and aim towards reducing the scare skill gap in the planning sector.  The pilot programme is set to run over a 24-month period in keeping with SACPLANs minimum time requirement for accreditation as a registered professional planner.

UKZN Professor T. Xaba the Dean and Head of Built Environment and Development Studies School mentioned the challenges the industry faces in terms of the shortage of appropriately skill officials. He said, “The Graduate Planner Internship Programme which complements the mostly theoretical training with practical experience, is a step in the direction of addressing the shortage of skilled personnel.”

Mrs. Gugu Mji, the Head of Skills Development at eThekwini Municipality remarked, “It is encouraging that through this partnership the Municipality is taking bold steps to address the issue of a shortage of qualified and experienced Town Planners.  More departments are encouraged to 'grow their own timber’.”

Mr. Lihle Phewa, the Deputy Head at eThekwini’s Development Planning and Environmental Management Unit mentioned the importance of the graduate programme in terms of linking theory to practice. "This internship will go a long way in broadening the Planning Skills base. It also presents an opportunity for alignment between Planning education and Practice as the new graduates will be sharing ideas and interacting with other Planning professionals in the workplace," said Mr. Phewa.

Enthused UKZN graduate Dennis Maphanga expressed his expectations of the programme, “This programme will help us immensely and is the missing link that we required to bring academic and practicality together. Linking an academic background with practical realties will afford us a chance to make inputs towards the broader objectives and ultimately help us contribute towards the planning discipline and fraternity at large.”

eThekwini Municipality wishes the graduates well on their journey into the workplace.

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