Collaboration to address engineering skills gap
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – A NEW partnership has been launched to develop young engineering leaders in South Africa.
The partnership featuring Unilever, the University of the Witwatersrand(Wits) and the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) offer Wits engineering students hands-on experience and access to a highly-regarded Engineering qualification while cultivating bestpractice engineering concepts that are applicable to the industry.
Through this Public-Private-Academic partnership launched in Johannesburg, 3 0 students will be given the opportunity to work at Unilever’s Khanyisa factory, in Boksburg, gaining much needed on-the-job training and practical experience.
“The students will form part of the factory operations team for theduration of their year of employment, giving them practical exposure to the production process and an opportunity to develop their technical andproblem solving skills,” said Antoinette Irvine, Unilever Vice Presidentof Human Resources.
Professor Robert Reid, Head of School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering at Wits, said research revealed that these low completion rates are primarily the result of insufficient funding,inadequate family or social support, lack of mentorship or exposure to theindustry to obtain practical skills and understanding.
Recent statistics released by the Department of Higher Education and Training indicate that as few as 15-25 percent of students who enroll informal tertiary education programs go on to complete.At Wits, roughly 40 percent of students who enroll to study Mechanical,Industrial or Aeronautical Engineering Degrees go on to complete and obtain this qualification.
“By partnering with a leading manufacturing company like Unilever we willbe able to bridge the identified gaps and ensure more work-ready engineersqualify,” Reid said.
– CAJ News
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