David Makhura, Gauteng Primier.
David Makhura, the Gauteng Premier, who gave a keynote address at the event was elated at the University’s pioneering venture. “As the Gauteng Government, we are proud of the great work coming from this institution and we fully support the initiative by the Tshwane University of Technology. This institute is important to all of us and I must emphasise the significance of partnerships in this regard. I urge business to come on board and support TUT in all measures possible,” Makhura said.
Tilson Manyoni, the Chairperson of Council at TUT, mentioned that the Institute for the Future of Work was guided by two societal principles – education as the greatest equaliser in society and that technology is the Future of Work. “The time has come for a leading Black university to step into the space created by technological advancements and harness the opportunities it presents to benefit society. We are all here to witness it all – A true South African story. We are urging industry to come on board and be part of the mega initiative at TUT, home to more than 60 000 students, predominately from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.”
He added: “The strategic objectives of the Institute are to:
- Engage in high-impact research and facilitate industry-funded and directed research in the areas of 4IR and Future of Work.
- Develop 4IR technologies that solve local problems.
- Optimize the use of TUT resources to serve the industry better in the area of 4IR.
- Provide an ideational platform for strategic dialogue and thinking on 4IR among different stakeholders in South Africa and internationally.
- Forge strategic relations with the industry and Government to enhance work integrated learning (WIL) opportunities and funding for students.
- Influence curricula development endeavours and pedagogical practices to centre 4IR technologies in the University’s instructional offerings.
- Build capacity and capability for 4IR technologies at TUT; and generate new businesses in areas of 4IR technologies”.
Representing the Department of Higher Education and Technology (DHET), Zukile Mvalo, DDG for Skills Development, said: “The 4IR has opened our eyes to the fact that the world is changing. Everyone who wants to be a partaker of the good things that it offers must follow the trends as they unfold before our eyes. It is only people who are equipped with future-proof skills that can take advantage of new opportunities. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is simply a digital revolution, and this means that industries are set to take different routes in the adoption of new technologies. The question that educators and policy-makers should begin to ask is: “Are our universities preparing students for the future? We are excited about this launch and we look forward to the impactful projects that will come out from the initiative”, he said.
Distinguished guests who attended the event included TUT Chancellor, Gwen Ramokgopa, who welcomed the guests, Ambassador Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe, MEC for Economic Development in Gauteng Province, Parks Tau and Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Thembi Seweya. Attendees from the business sector included ABSA; Siemens; Transnet; MTN; Liberty Life; Cyber-Alliance; Ford; RMI; BMW; Naspers; Vodacom; Telkom; SAP Africa; Discovery Holdings; African Rainbow Minerals; Transnet, Investec and FirstRand Group to name a few.
iFoW will focus on research projects in partnership with the private and public sector, driven by third-stream revenue, innovation, University entrepreneurial approach, Public-private partnership model, new skills and re-skilling, fostering student entrepreneurship, optimising our talent pool, sharing value and technology being the Future of Work. The focus areas on these projects will include Digital Agriculture, Digital Healthcare, Industrial Automation, Township Economy and a Financial Inclusion Green Economy.
Prof Lourens van Staden, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, said real education offered in institutions of higher learning is the driving force of human development and should continuously serve to rekindle and sustain people’s imagination, creativity and innovation. “The universities of the future will need to adapt to an intelligent society and this is only possible by positioning our universities to be commercially engaged institutions and closely aligned to industry, working together in service of society,” Prof van Staden concluded.
Visit the iFoW Website: https://ifow.ac.za/