The Chemical Industry Education and Training Authority (Chieta) will provide two South African universities with R1.64-million to support chemical industry research, innovation and work-integrated learning initiatives, as well as contribute towards curbing youth unemployment.
The Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, in Pretoria North, was granted R387 500 for its work-integrated learning programmes. It will partner with pharmaceutical companies to offer work-integrated learning for undergraduate students studying towards pharmaceutical-related qualifications, says Chieta CEO Yershen Pillay.
These students will be able to complete their qualifications and gain workplace experience, thereby creating a pool of graduates for absorption into South Africa’s increasingly important pharmaceutical sector.
Further, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) received R510 000 to produce nanotechnology from waste glass. The VUT’s project involves the collection of waste glass bottles for recycling and conversion into nanoscilia.
“The project will make use of nonreturnable bottles. It will benefit unemployed youth, who will be collecting and recycling the glass bottles,” Pillay says.
Nanoscilia products produced from the project will benefit tyre manufactures, pharmaceuticals and plastics industries, which can boost South Africa’s exports. The project will also contribute to reducing pollution as used bottles would be recycled.
The VUT has also been allocated a further R750 000 for an electric car project. The programme will also help Master’s degree students to develop a biopolymer chitosan membrane for electricity production, which will be used in the development of fuel cell batteries for electric cars and capacitation of students with Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) skills.
The VUT will also be partnering with Pet Industrial where students will use the firm’s facilities for membrane development. The project will benefit the chemicals and energy industries, especially in the promotion of renewable energy, says Pillay.
‘’We are very proud to take advantage of such new technologies in a modern and fast-changing world to improve and develop our sector,” he notes.
Chieta is committed to forging ahead with its various interventions to stimulate the country’s economy through the strength of its new and existing strategic partnerships in the private and public sectors.
“We are determined to ensure that these partnerships as well as our various other interventions will succeed and benefit our communities. We must cement new and lasting partnerships that will allow us to put the chemical industry on the fast-track to adopting 4IR and continue to innovate, as well as eliminate poverty, reduce inequality and spur economic development,” Pillay concludes.