South Africa’s newest manufacturing institute and academic research hub – the Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies (TWIMS) – was officially launched on Monday.
TWIMS is incorporated as a nonprofit organisation and was established with funding from the Toyota South Africa Educational Trust, which, in turn, received its seed funding, to the value of about R50-million, from the Wessels family and Toyota Motor Corporation Japan.
In effect, this means that any retained income will be used to fund deserving, but needy students from designated groups who would like to study at TWIMS.
Situated in Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal, the institute will welcome its first group of students in 2019.
The TWIMS campus is housed in the historic Crowhurst Manor, which was built at the turn of the twentieth century.
While the historic sections of the property will remain intact, TWIMS will add an auditorium, and has already added classrooms with high-speed links to global academic partners and a modern technology “sandbox” that will allow for the on-site testing of manufacturing concepts.
The campus also features a boutique hotel for visiting students and academics, and a coffee shop, gym and library.
All construction is expected to be complete by the end of May 2019.
Speaking at the launch event on Monday, TWIMS executive director Professor Justin Barnes said manufacturing holds the key to the long-term sustainable development of the South African and African economies.
“Unfortunately, this sector’s contribution to our gross domestic product is in decline. We hope to address that by developing a new generation of world-class, business-minded manufacturing specialists,” he told attending delegates.
Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies, meanwhile, said that, with the local content target in the automotive manufacturing sector having been raised to 60% by 2035, the TWIMS institute will play a vital role as the industry becomes more “knowledge intensive” in its pursuit of achieving higher levels of strategic thinking.
The local content target is outlined in the newly released South African Automotive Masterplan, which was adopted by Cabinet on November 22.
The plan aims to double employment in the automotive sector to 224 000 jobs by 2035, from 112 00 currently, and position South Africa to produce 1% of global vehicle production, or 1.4-million vehicles, by that date.
2019 ACADEMIC PROGRAMME
Partnering with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), TWIMS will deliver an academic programme with a manufacturing-focused curriculum in 2019.
GIBS will offer a manufacturing focused master’s in business administration, commonly known as an MBA, and a post-graduate diploma in business administration at TWIMS.
The manufacturing-focused MBA includes a range of electives in lean operations management, lean supply chain management, African trade and industrialisation, green manufacturing and future manufacturing.
TWIMS will also facilitate and host a number of non-academic programmes, including executive development programmes, short certificate courses, specialist conferences and thought leadership seminars.
TWIMS also aims to become the hub for manufacturing research in Africa. For this purpose, it is creating dedicated research fellows and is facilitating links with manufacturing research centres across the world.