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Developing and harnessing young professional talent is vital if East Africa is to meet the challenges of sustainable urbanisation, according to one of the region’s leading architecture and engineering firms.

FBW Group believes the private sector must increase its role by investing more in the development of the next generation of ‘home-grown’ architects and engineers who will deliver the vision of green, sustainable urban growth.

The business is playing its part in growing the region’s skills base and is actively nurturing the development of young professionals in its offices in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.

As well as an in-house intern programme and links with educational establishments, FBW’s commitment to professional development sees its young talent encouraged and nurtured as they gain knowledge and experience on their career journeys.

That includes supporting them as they work in-house to pass their exams and become registered professionals in their fields. A pipeline of FBW talent continues on that route.

Junior and mid-tier staff are exposed to different working environments and a wide range of projects as part of their training and development.

Paul Moores, FBW Group managing director, said: “It is really important that businesses like ours play their part in developing the young professionals who are the future of East Africa and will drive the green and sustainable growth agenda that is so vitally important for the region.

“There is still so much more to do to bridge the skills gap and we’d urge all businesses involved in planning, design and construction to commit to the development and training of young people.

“The transfer of knowledge and the continual drive for higher standards is a professional responsibility for all of us. East Africa needs to see more registered architects and engineers.”

Peter Mugisa, based in FBW’s Kampala office, has progressed from graduate to a registered professional architect during his time with the practice. He passed his Uganda Society of Architects (USA) exams and took his place on the Architects Registration Board of Uganda (ARB) register just before lockdown.

Peter, 33, who has been a member of the FBW team for six years, said: “I was supported throughout the process by everyone in the business, from the directors, right down the organisation. Everyone was right behind me and prepared to give me all the help and advice I needed.”

Civil engineer Peter Nyamutale, another member of FBW’s Kampala team, has recently passed The Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers (UIPE) exams and joined the Uganda Engineers Registration Board (ERB) register.

Peter, 32, said: “There is a big push in Uganda to encourage more people to get professional accreditation as part of the skills agenda. It is vital as work goes on to raise standards and as more large-scale projects are planned, and Africa’s urbanisation accelerates.”

Frances Nakabuye, also 32, a graduate architect in FBW’s Kampala office, is currently working towards her professional registration.

Her career journey has taken her from FBW in Uganda, where she was an intern, to Milan, where she studied architecture. Since returning to FBW, she has worked on major projects, including masterplanning the expansion of the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) in Butaro, Rwanda.

Frances is looking to sit her professional exams with USA later this year. She said: “I feel I’m continually learning and developing through the projects I’m involved in delivering with FBW. Working with project managers, engineers and the people on site is proving invaluable.”

Evelyn Mugisha is a former FBW architect who is now working successfully in Australia. She says the business has played a major part in her professional development. She attained her ARB and USA membership in 2011 and was recognised as the best exam candidate of her year.

She said: “I joined FBW in 2008 as a fresh graduate. I was attracted by the fact that FBW is an interdisciplinary practice with an international presence. The biggest attraction was the quality of design and detail applied to the projects.

“Another important contributor to my success was being part of a practice that is well managed. My exposure to bid management and project management was an invaluable experience.”