The Department of Civil Engineering, aims at producing high quality graduates with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes who will be much sought after by the industry. Students who gain admission to the University are among the best performers in the country academically and they come from a wide spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds. While some may settle into the University environment easily, it is not so for the large number of students who are from rural areas. Familiarizing oneself to engineering education in the English medium, having being exposed primarily to education in Sinhala or Tamil, continues to be a formidable task to many. Hence all first year students go through an orientation programme which focuses among other things, on a period of intensive training in English.
In today's context, a large number of graduates find employment in the private sector, which is highly competitive and committed to excellence. Therefore in addition to technical expertise, there are soft skills such as leadership, communication, teamwork, positive attitudes, etiquette , personal grooming etc. that will greatly enhance a young graduate's chances of enjoying success in the world of work. It is with this objective that the Department of Civil Engineering is expanding its mentoring programme.
A mentor is an experienced and trusted guide who shows the way to another. Thus high caliber executives assist young under graduates in developing the above mentioned skills through the mentoring programme. It is approximately a thirteen week programme comprising some common lectures and several structured sessions in which a mentor meet with a smaller group of students, mostly in an office environment, hence a mentoring program will also assist students in their transition from the university to a work environment.
In a survey carried out on a group who had been mentored, a very high proportion of students said they would strongly recommend the mentoring program to their juniors. They had greatly by their close interaction and relationship with their mentors. It is most encouraging to note that some students continue to maintain contact with their mentors even after completion of the programme.
The mentoring programme is strongly supported by the industry through sponsorships and appreciated as innovative and value adding by quality assurance and accreditation reviews. The university is very grateful to mentors who assist students by committing themselves to the mentoring programme on a voluntary basis.