The experiential learning programme for National Diploma in Civil Engineering at Nelson Mandela University (NMU) serves to provide students with the opportunity of industry exposure in diverse fields such as: administration; drawing; surveying; design; contracts; construction; material testing among others. The programme forms part of the core courses, which students must complete successfully before being awarded a diploma. Experiential learning may be defined as “any process or engagement that accords a learner an opportunity to learn about a certain phenomena”.

The programme is accredited by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and is recognized for professional registration. ECSA provides guidelines for training programmes for candidates wishing to be registered as professionals in the following categories; Professional Engineer; Professional Engineering Technologist; Professional Certified Engineer, and Professional Engineering Technician. Candidates for registration in the listed categories are required to complete a monitored mentorship programme within the institutions of higher learning who offer accredited programmes and or in the work place.

To fulfil the requirements of National Diploma in Civil Engineering,  a student must complete a minimum period of ONE YEAR of applicable and approved experiential learning under the supervision of a qualified mentor. It is recommended that this year follows after the S2 block.

During the first semester of the student’s experiential learning the student is expected to gather information on the technical and environmental concerns around a project with which the student is involved.

During the second semester of experiential learning the student is required to submit a technical report, dealing with the environmental, practical and theoretical civil engineering aspects of the project in which the student has been involved.

The ideal is to give a student experiential learning in as many fields related to Civil Engineering as possible. This implies exposure to most, if not all, of the fields listed below.

Administration, Drawing, Surveying, Design, Contracts, Construction Supervision, Materials testing. Other skills as deemed acceptable by the monitor.

The minimum requirement is that a student must acquire an acceptable level of proficiency in at least four of the listed fields. An acceptable level of proficiency translates into about eight weeks of involvement in the work category concerned. Please note that the student must complete at least 1 year of applicable training!

Online feedback

In order to enhance the quality of training and relationship management between the mentor and mentee (Student), an online simple questionnaire has been developed that provides both the student and mentor with the opportunity to provide regular feedback (monthly and quarterly) on perceptions about the training and evaluation thereof by the mentor. Please make use of this important facility to provide us with the necessary feedback on a regular basis. Results will be reported in aggregate and used to make follow ups in areas that require our intervention only. Confidentiality is guaranteed on your feedback.

Evaluation of training

The evaluation of the experiential learning is done by:

(a) the mentor who assesses and certifies that the student has attained the desired scope of training , has achieved the desired level of proficiency and that the filling in by the student of his logbook is authentic.

(b) the monitor who evaluates the student's project.

In order to register a pass for the subject Civil Engineering Practice II, the student must:

(c) obtain an acceptable level of proficiency in his/her experiential training

(d) achieve at least 50% in his/her project.

The duties and responsibilities of the mentor

The mentor must ensure that the scope and depth of the experiential training to which the

student is being exposed is sufficient to build up the required level of proficiency.

The mentor must supply guidelines to the student in connection with the training logbook, and check it at regular intervals.

At the end of each semester module, the mentor must check the accuracy of the student's experiential learning report and endorse it.

Mentors will be expected to sign the monthly reports and to complete an evaluation questionnaire twice during the year

Employers enter into a temporary-employment contract with the student during the training at a salary as agreed between student and employer.


Contact information
Ms Colleen Hopgood
Experiential Learning Administrator
Tel: 27 41 504 3518

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