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Walter Sisulu University’s institute has the right tools for the job
Since its establishment in 2007 by the Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), the WSU Institute for Advanced Tooling (IAT) has been making great strides in trying to answer society’s clarion call for more skills development, curbing the high levels of unemployment, as well as economic development.
“The main focus of our institute is tooling. The purpose of IAT is to transfer technology to industry, support SMMEs, provide skills development, conduct technology demonstrations, conduct research and development, provide product development and prototyping services, conduct technology audits amongst other
things. The IAT is in fact a high level technology enabler,” says the institute’s station manager Kerryn Newey.
The institute plays an invaluable role in transference of skills to the University’s engineering students by providing AutoCAD (2D & 3D) training services for Mechanical Engineering Diploma students. It further supports the Mechanical Engineering BTech Programme with design projects.
Newey also speaks highly of the institute’s internship programme, which he describes as a resounding success in readying graduates for the world of employment.
“The programme is designed to provide the interns with the skills necessary for employment. A testament to how well the programme is working is that we have, over the past seven years, had a 100% success rate of employment of our interns after their training. We have so much confidence in them that we’ve even gone as far as absorbing some of them ourselves,” says Newey.
The institute’s unquenchable thirst for skills development does not end there though, with the body recently availing itself to teaching and training young protégés of the ISD Graduate Youth Development Programme about the tricks of the tooling trade.
Recognising the importance of fostering partnerships with local government and industry to boost the status of the tooling industry, the institute has over the past few years formed close working relationships with 3 local toolrooms, a local engineering company for Third Party Measurement Services (providing the equipment and machine operators), the National Tooling Initiative, the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs as well as the Border Kei Chamber of Business Energy Forum.
“These are invaluable partners whose skills and expertise have and will go a long way in our quest as an initiative to build a vibrant tooling industry in this region,” continues Newey.
Other achievements that the institute has made include:
· Successful completion of a number of industrial projects
· Successful completion of a Research and Development project to improve the performance of Small Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines
· Received R 5.6 million worth of funding for manufacturing/
· Trained 85 WSU (combined) students in AutoCAD 2D/3D and CNC in FY 2012-2013
· Trained 170 Unemployed Youth Graduates in FY 2012-2013
· 100% success rate in employment of IAT WSU trained Interns (employed in industry on completion of training)
· Presentation of 2 research papers FY 2012-2013
· 19 new SMMEs assisted in FY 2012-2013