College of Science, Engineering & Technology

Passionate about professional bodies

Prof Kemlall Ramdass

Prof Kemlall Ramdass, from the School of Engineering in Unisa’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), has been selected to be part of an Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) working group that will develop a discipline-specific training guideline for candidate professional engineers in Computer Engineering, candidate engineering technologists in Computer Engineering, and candidate engineering technicians in Computer Engineering. This will be closely linked to the graduate attributes of computer engineering colleagues in terms of competencies within the various categories of registration.

He speaks to the news team about his selection to the ECSA working group and about what drives him to contribute to professional bodies.

Can you give us a brief background about yourself?

I joined the industry after matriculating and worked as a work-study officer, industrial engineer, production/operations manager and skills development facilitator in the clothing, electronics and textile industries between 1981 and 1999. While working I enrolled for my first qualification at the ML Sultan Technikon. I attained the following qualifications while working full time: a National Diploma in Organisation and Work Study, a National Higher Diploma in Production Management, a Bachelor of Technology in Quality, a Master's in Operations Management, a Doctorate of Philosophy in Engineering Management and a Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education.

I joined the academic profession in 1999 as a lecturer at the Technikon South Africa, then worked at the University of Johannesburg for a while, and was thereafter appointed by Unisa at the Centre for Professional Development. I am currently an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering based at Unisa’s Science Campus. My passion is in quality and I firmly believe that the application of quality management methodologies will highlight deficiencies and instigate the implementation of improvement strategies.

I have been in a position where I worked and studied simultaneously, giving me the edge and ability to apply my skills and knowledge in the industry and academia - I attained all my qualifications on a part-time basis. I am a process, performance and operations specialist with a driving passion for improvement. I co-authored a textbook called Operations management and published approximately 50 journal and conference papers, both nationally and internationally. I am also a peer reviewer for numerous journals and conferences, a council member of the South African Institute for Industrial Engineering and a member of the Portland International Centre for Management of Engineering and Technology. I also attained professional registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) as a professional engineering technologist. In concluding this short resume, I must admit that perseverance, dedication and hard work are the cornerstone of a successful individual.

What criteria were used to select you for this great role?

In the fast-paced world of today, one needs to be visible. When I was called for my first interview, it did not go well. However, I was patient and after a while my certificate was delivered to my office. During my first invite by ECSA, I took the opportunity to speak to senior management of ECSA and I became more and more involved in their activities. I am passionate about contributing to professional bodies. This is how I was nominated to be part of the working group.

What does this mean for CSET and particularly for the School of Engineering?

This means that CSET has a colleague that is involved with ECSA at various levels. This will by no means compromise the integrity of our professional relationship with the institution but may help to create a more conducive working relationship regarding sharing of expertise for improving what we do. Going forward, and as we strengthen ties with our academic stakeholders, we will be able to accomplish more in so far as we see the development of mutually beneficial relationships.

What has been your highlights at CSET?

CSET has given me the opportunity to improve my academic stature within the university as well as externally. Collaborative initiatives are giving me more visibility as we work together to accomplish the objectives of Unisa as a leading institution in shaping futures in the service of humanity.

Any additional information you wish to add?

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues in the college for their support and confidence in the work I do, and I would also like to encourage my younger colleagues to focus on their dreams. Remember, hard work always pays off, but it comes with time and effort.

* Interviewed by Thembeka Ntuli-Mpapama, Communication and Marketing Specialist, College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Quality student service recognised

Publish date: 2020/07/07