On the 12th of March 2017 the Johannesburg Technical Advisory Board (TAB) held its first meeting at the Galata Bakery and Coffee Shop in Braamfontein. Five TAB members, the chairperson of EWB-Wits and a committee member from EWB-UJ were present for this event. Unfortunately UNISA was unable to make it.
The primary goals of the meeting were to establish a relationship between the chapters and the TAB. The first order of business was to run through the chapter year plans in detail. The TAB members critically evaluated the chapters’ plans and offered some helpful advice.
Following these discussions, the discussion turned to how the TAB can best assist the student chapters to achieve their goals for the year. A major point that was brought up was that student chapters tend to run small, non-engineering type projects due to the fact that the structures within the chapters are not mature enough to handle larger projects.
It was agreed that if these internal chapter structures are rectified then chapters would be better equipped to run large scale projects on a consistent basis. The rectification of these structures can start from simple practises such as efficient planning and thus the TAB agreed to create a basic template for project planning and implementation by tapping into their experience with project management.
In terms of the logistics of the relationship, it was agreed that at this moment it may not be wise to have individual TAB members dedicated to a single chapter. Once the year plans are set in stone, then such decisions can be made.
The relationship between chapters and TAB members is still in its infant stages and thus there is still a lot to work on from all parties. As time goes by, the true value of these professionals to the student chapters will certainly be revealed.
Written by Tumisang Kalagobe