University signs R30m partnership with MerSeta

20 June 2019

The Establishment of a Research Chair in Intelligent Manufacturing, as well as a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to expand Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities signed between TUT and the MerSETA (Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services SETA) are set to bring about significant opportunities for students and the industry. The MoA valued at R30 M will span a three-year period ad will provide much-needed funding for 45 WIL students.

Wayne Adams and Prof Lourens van Staden signing the R30m Memorandumof Agreement between TUT and MerSeta.

Dr SJ Jacobs TUT Project Manager for the Research Chair in Intelligent Manufacturing and Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE, explained that the Chair will identify and support industry-based research projects and skills development programmes towards strengthening and accelerating Industry and Academic collaboration. “MerSETA’s exemplary track record in the industry makes them the logical partner to work with to improve and change the industry,” he said.

Dr Jacobs explained that the projects would focus specifically on (WP1) Intelligent Manufacturing – Student Support; (WP2) IoT/Industry 4.0 Technology Demonstration – Industry-based Research and Development; (WP3) IoT/Industry 4.0 Skills Development Programme; (WP4) Incubation and Component Localization; and (WP5) Skills Development on Rapid Product Development.

“The five work packages with detailed activities, timeframe, milestones, deliverables, budget, responsible parties and performance measure/indicators were designed in collaboration with MerSETA, to address a wide range of deliverables, one of which is to prepare people for a future in IoT and 4IR. Therefore, teaching and learning, research and innovation as well as community engagement are the cornerstones of Industry 4.0 for Intelligent Manufacturing. We are already in the process of identifying 60 candidates who will receive training in the first year of the partnership,” Dr Jacobs continued.

Prof Lourens van Staden, who signed the MoU on behalf of TUT, said this fits in perfectly with TUT’s new vision of making knowledge useful.  “TUT is well positioned to play a vital role in addressing the country’s real issues and to contribute to the economic emancipation of the South African economy. The partnership with MerSETA could well become one of TUT’s flagship projects.”

According to acting CEO of the MerSETA, Wayne Adams, one of the important common denominators between TUT and MerSETA is the need to make information useful within the respective sectors. “If we want to be competitive as a country and an economy, we must literally break down the doors to leverage all opportunities for collaboration. MerSETA regards projects like this as long-term partnerships and this project has many such possibilities, especially in the skills development fraternity,” Adams said.

Dr Jacobs concluded a short presentation on the Chair in Intelligent Manufacturing explaining how all of the elements of the project will come together in the Factory of the Future. “It is evident that a need exists to better understand the current and future skills requirements related to Industry 4.0 in the workplace in order to position the Academic environment to deliver programmes that can support and enhance abroad range of engineering and manufacturing industries,” he said.

Delegates who attended the signing of the MoA between TUT and MerSeta.

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