PRACTICE-ORIENTED EDUCATION COLLABORATION
The Vocational Training in Mechatronics Project is a collaborative project that benefits South African learners, industry, and economy.
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The Vocational Training in Mechatronics Project is a collaborative project between Bildungswerk der Bayerischen Wirtschaft (bbw) gGmbH the German-South African Chamber of Commerce, several TVET colleges as well as responsible corporates that understand the skills needed to kick-start the unemployment challenge. The project is based on the German dual-system model to ensure the best quality training and the highest probability of employment. The project is oriented on the German dual-system model and applies it to South African context.
The dual vocational training approach combines theoretical and practical learning at TVET colleges with skills transfer, building capacity, and overall consulting while growing a network in the private sector where the practical application in a work-based environment is part of the training programme.
What is Mechatronics?
It is an exciting field that teaches a holistic approach, opening up innovation possibilities, and offers a new way of solving current and future challenges. Mechatronics combines electronic, mechanical, and electrical engineering. But more than that, it includes robotics, software development, CAD, and design as well as systems control design and management.
Pioneered in the 1960s, it is a future-thinking field that combines engineering fields that traditionally operated separately. This interdisciplinary approach has already made evolutionary advances with the design and production from planetary rovers to the autofocus in your mobile phone camera. It is a groundbreaking synergy that teaches holistic design LED thinking combined with technical skills.
As we are more and more confronted with the reality of Industry 4.0 but grapple with the challenges of a developing nation, it is imperative to open up the market for learners and companies to tap into this field, as vocational learners and institutions.
Vocational training is designed to skill learners for a specific career, already honing practical skills. With this system, learners receive the highest quality training in a vast field of innovation and practical implications.
The Vocational Training Program in Mechatronics provides a sustainable solution to several challenges:
- It provides a feasible alternative to high-cost tertiary education;
- It guarantees employable individuals at the end of the programme due to practice- and demand-oriented curricula;
- Setting apprentices up for success with qualified training personnel;
- It offers a significant opportunity to conscious and responsible corporates to invest their Skills Development Funds into projects that are sustainable and have proven to have a NET Positive influence;
- Finally, it provides a platform for international and national collaboration, contextualizing global excellence with local expertise.
To ensure sustainable economic development all stakeholders in the education and employment sector need to think not only out of the box but, design a whole new container. That can only be done when collaborators bridge the barriers between disciplines, fields, and industries.
To harness the unique assets in communities and spark a cumulative Net Positive effect, global success stories can be explored and serve as a positive example for the South African market. To provide educational programmes that are focused on practice as an alternative to traditional tertiary education is one step closer to harnessing the greatest asset in the country – its youth.
The dual vocational training method is a proven education model with a high success rate. With more than 50 years of experience in this field, bbw will support the existing South African eco-system based on collaboration between local corporates, TVET colleges, the German South African Business Chamber, and other stakeholders to achieve the same success. Watch the video to understand how the system works and why it has proven successful.
Vocational Training Partnerships or BBP are funding programmes of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). These programmes aim to promote sustainable economic development in partner countries.
Through the close economic ties and cooperation, South Africa is one of the partner countries to benefit from bilateral trade agreements as well as global collaboration on mutually beneficial programmes.
With programmes like the dual vocational training in mechatronics programme, the BMZ aims through German organisations like bbw to:
- Mobilize the experience and know-how of the German business community for collaboration in development.
- Facilitate direct cooperation between non-governmental organisations and,
- Adopt and help grow initiatives from the private sector
In the program, German associations act as project executing agencies and carry out projects independently. They work closely with their local partners, and project objectives and measures are jointly planned and implemented.
SEQUA, a German non-profit development organisation that operates globally is responsible for the coordination and administration of programs worldwide. SEQUA has facilitated global programmes and projects of collaboration and cooperation between the German private sector and other countries since 1991. SEQUA carries out governance matters such as application, planning, reporting, and financial management of Capital Improvement Projects and Vocational Training Partnerships.
This programme aims to empower TVET-colleges with the latest insight and qualifications to offer technical and theoretical instruction. The result is a practice-orientated qualification for students that will set them up for successful careers.
The specific objective of the Vocational Training Project is to ensure that three TVET colleges in the Gauteng province, in collaboration with the private sector, are skilled and able to offer accredited vocational qualified training Mechatronics Technicians (on par with level 5 South African Occupational Certificate).
In other words, the project will empower TVET colleges and establish ecosystems within the industry to provide a dual training system in mechatronics that will be globally accepted with local knowledge and application to the South African economy.
The vision of the project echoes that of the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry – to establish bilateral trade and industry and ensure mutual benefits to trading partners.