Interview with Dr. Gaathier Mahed

Industry, academia & creating a pipeline of talent for the oil & gas industry

To celebrate the recent partnership between Africa Oil Week 2019 and the Nelson Mandela University, we sat down with Dr. Gaathier Mahed, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geosciences. Dr. Mahed was kind enough to share some of his thoughts about the AOW Student Programme and the future pipeline of talent for the oil & gas industry.

Why are initiatives like the Student Programme at Africa Oil Week important?
Initiatives like the AOW Student Programme encourage interaction between academia and industry and give students a view into the working world. Crucially, they also allow industry to connect with future employees, as well as helping shape aspects of what academia delivers to students in terms of relevant content.

How is the Nelson Mandela University supporting the next generation of talent in oil & gas?
As you can see through our participation in Africa Oil Week 2019, we are endeavouring to build strong relationships with industry. These help our students to understand what they need in order to prepare themselves to succeed in the oil & gas sector.

In class, this approach is complemented by the use of case studies, as well as blended learning approaches which help students to realise the importance of the fourth industrial revolution (see more here). We also include online learning and data science in our courses to boost students’ employability.

What is the top quality young people attending the AOW student programme should cultivate in themselves?
Humility, as it allows you to be teachable and lends itself to being hard working and disciplined.

 How can employers encourage young people to choose careers in engineering/oil and gas?
Incentives are important. It is also a good idea to look at effective marketing strategies and use social media to get in touch with the potential audience – as it’s no secret that oil & gas is sometimes wrongly perceived as old-fashioned.  

Dr. Gaathier Mahed
Senior Lecturer 
Department of Geosciences
Nelson Mandela University
Learn More About the AOW Student Programme