By Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN professionals in the construction and engineering sector domiciled in the UK are in the process of registering a body that will bring them closer together and create a resource pool aimed at helping the country and individuals dreaming of a career in the field, NewZimbabwe.com has learnt.
The Zimbabwe Diaspora Construction and Engineering Professionals (ZiDCEP) will celebrate its first anniversary on Friday, in Brimingham, England at the Ekhaya Restaurant and Grill Bar owned by a Zimbabwean according to chairperson of the steering committee Wilson Kunaka.
Kunaka told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview from England that the ZiDCEP is an idea born out of the realisation that Zimbabwe has suffered from brain drain in the past two decades and there is need to begin to assist not only professional bodies locally but also for those scattered across the globe to find each other for better collaboration.
“The event will be held tonight (Friday) and brings together professional in the construction and engineering sector with various skills set to network and share experiences as well as learnt from each other,” said Kunaka.
“We decided to hold it at Ekhaya Restaurant and Grill Bar in order to support one of our on.”
Among key speakers at the event are Kunaka who will talk about ZiDCEP’s first year and what the future holds, a lawyer Tafadzwa Nyawanza will elaborate on the registration process for the body to be formally recognised in the UK.
Diaspora Insurance director Jeff Madzingo will speak on the Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan and urge Zimbabweans to consider taking up funeral insurance in order to assure themselves of a decent resting place or their choice in the event they pass on.
“It is important that our people in the UK and elsewhere consider insurance whether they would want to be laid to rest here or have a wish to be flown back home,” said Kunaka.
A Zimbabwean making waves in the UK, construction industry Ben Hickman will also speak at the event and so will ZimThrive’s Mike Tashaya. Other speakers at the event will include Kim Mamhende of the Centre for African Entrepreneurship and Taffy Chaduka who came up with the original idea for the formation of the ZiDCEP last year.
According to Kunaka the ZiDCEP is also looking at creating mentor-ship programmes for youths joining the engineering sector.
“We also want to encourage young Zimbabweans to take up technical programmes when they go to university or colleges. We want to create a pool of mentors from whom budding engineers, architects and other professionals in the construction sector who can assist students make informed choices as we ll as pass.
“The ZiDCEP will also provide a platform for professionals to consult others when they have a new project. We will not take over the project but provide advise to make sure that when our people take up project they deliver quality work,” he said.
Going forward Kunaka said the ZiDCEP is looking at teaming up with local universities as well as colleges in order to build capacity.
“We have seen citizens from other countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya coming up with programmes that help their countries. There is nothing that should stop universities and colleges working with the ZiDCEP to create synergies that make use of professionals on holidays to attend seminars or tailor made programmes for the help of students who can tap into their vast knowledge.
“We want to change mindsets and make sure young Zimbabweans take up engineering, architecture and quantity surveying for examples as courses not only for the sake of being employed by to become employers one day,” said Kunaka.
He said the ZiDCEP will also link up with local engineering bodies for cooperation that benefits the country. Kunaka indicated the ZiDCEP has membership from Zimbabweans across the diaspora including the US, China, Canada, South Africa among other countries.