The Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) and the Association of Builders & Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) have collaborated to provide students and graduates of engineering universities the opportunity to work on projects that will enable them to get firsthand knowledge of the housing sector and the construction industry.
The agreement to this effect was signed at a ceremony at the ABAD head office in Karachi. It was attended by social entrepreneur and nominee for this year’s Nobel Prize, Dr. Amjad Saqib, as the chief guest, and Chairman PEC, Engr. Najeeb Haroon, as the guest of honor. The ceremony was presided over by the latter.
Also in attendance were Chairman ABAD, Mohsin Shekhani, and his team which is the leading representative of the construction industry and engineering fraternity, as well as Vice Chairman PEC Sindh, Engr. Mukhtar Shaikh, and Convenor Pakistan Development Committee, Mir Masood Rashid.
According to the corresponding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), both parties will identify the areas of potential collaboration to facilitate the areas of combined growth for the beneficiaries (engineering graduates, innovators, builders and developers, academia, researchers, and engineers).
According to the agreement, the ABAD will provide paid internship opportunities to new engineers in collaboration with the PEC, and the ABAD will allow and arrange for field tours for the engineering students taking the PEC-accredited university programs.
Both the ABAD and the PEC will work on the promotion of final year projects in industrial design, and innovative ideas and incentives will be given to the students whose ideas will be commercialized, according to the terms of the MoU.
Furthermore, the PEC and the ABAD will work together to promote the green building culture in Pakistan.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, Chairman ABAD, Mohsin Shaikhani, said the housing industry requires the expertise of professionals to modernize the construction of buildings in accordance with the global trends. He said that the agreement signed by the ABAD will enable it to get connectivity with all the professionals in the construction industry as the PEC is their sole accrediting body.
He added that the accord between the ABAD and PEC will enable engineering students to work at actual building sites for the growth of the construction industry.
Shaikhani stated that the progress of the housing industry means the progress of 72 allied industries that had also created massive job opportunities in the country. He said the ABAD and non-profit Akhuwat Foundation had jointly established a fund to create internship opportunities for the graduates of the engineering universities to secure their futures by exposing them to the construction industry.
He said the ABAD had the firm resolve to work with the PEC to work on projects for the recycling of wastewater in the housing sector and also in building ‘green’ buildings to protect the environment and conserve energy.
The Convener of the Pakistan Development Committee of the PEC, Engr. Mir Masood Rashid, said that the new agreement had been envisaged by his committee in line with its efforts to give due recognition to engineering graduates by establishing a firm linkage between them and the related industries. He said that one of the provisions of the agreement stood for arranging two field trips for the third-year engineering students for them to acquire practical knowledge of the building sector.
Rashid said that the accord envisages the preparation of a list of the topics to be chosen by the engineering students for their FYPs for the provision of practical solutions to the current issues in the housing sector, like faulty sewage systems. He mentioned that they will also be facilitated in interning in the construction industry for six months as the PEC will contribute to the payment of the stipend to the interns.
Chairman Council of Architects and Town Planners, Arif Changezi, expressed hope that the agreement will go a long way to improve the built environment in the country and resolve the major issues of the construction industry, such as the fast-shrinking sizes of open public spaces in urban areas.
Chairman PEC, Najeeb Haroon, opined that Pakistan should declare an engineering emergency like the medical emergency that is often declared to get the expertise of qualified engineers to resolve major national issues like the energy crisis, water shortages, and the development of civic infrastructure. He added that engineers with practical knowledge of several sectors could play an important role in the development and progress of the country.
Akhuwat Founder, Dr. Amjad Saqib, commented that engineering graduates and associations like the ABAD had to play an active role to resolve the housing problems of 10 million people without homes in the country. He said the graduates should use their academic knowledge to resolve the basic issues of 50 percent of Pakistan’s underprivileged population.