The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Merseta) have signed a multi-million rand agreement to boost skills training in the Eastern Cape.
The agreement would entail the promotion of women in engineering, the placement of engineering students in industry, strengthening the links between the NMMU and further education and training (FET) colleges and increasing the capacity of educators at technical high schools.
Merseta would also make bursaries available to qualifying candidates for the university’s BEng: Mechatronics programme.
NMMU vice-chancellor Professor Derrick Swartz said that the agreement would “forge an alliance” between the University and industry to ensure that the parties produce skills and knowledge, particularly in mechatronics, to provide a competitive edge to industries in the region.
“In coming years, we are going to build a formidable reputation as the leading mechatronics centre of excellence in South Africa,” he noted.
Merseta CEO Dr Raymond Patel added that the Eastern Cape would benefit “tremendously” from “targeted skills upgrading”.
The university would, with the assistance of the training authority, strengthen its links with the Port Elizabeth, Buffalo City and Eastern Cape Midlands FET colleges and train engineering lecturing staff, as well as assist in quality assurance and articulation possibilities, the parties highlighted in a statement.
Further, Merseta would support engineering students placed in industry and who required further experiential training at the university, while the NMMU would also place students in the local industry.
Both parties had also agreed to “greatly increase” female students in science, engineering and technology.
“Women’s empowerment in these three fields is crucial to the sustainability of our economy. Economic and employment equity are not only legislative requirements but are also vital for the transformation of the Eastern Cape’s industry,” Patel stated.