4IR TVET gets shot in arm as Siemens, CSIR sign MoU

3rd February 2021 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor

Industrial technology multinational Siemens South Africa and research organisation the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on February 3 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to foster technical vocational education and training (TVET) in Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) critical technical and digital skills to contribute to the employability of the local workforce and enhance the quality of job profiles.

The cooperation will also focus on piloting digital industry solutions in sectors such as food and beverage, water, cybersecurity and manufacturing, as well as piloting solutions for smart and sustainable cities that are geared toward better and more equitable livelihoods for all South Africans.

The partnership with Siemens forms part of the CSIR's strategy that aims to foster partnerships with the private and public sectors to respond to the needs of industry to improve the lives of South Africans, CSIR CEO Dr Thulani Dlamini says.

“We are very pleased to join hands with Siemens in this huge and compelling task of ensuring that our country does not miss out on the gains of the 4IR. The CSIR strategy requires us to work very closely with the private sector to address the needs of industry and society, and to use science and technology to fast-track digital skills of the future. To achieve this, the organisation is leveraging emerging technologies, especially those rooted in the 4IR, as well as its current capabilities and those of its partners,” he said.

“As South Africa strives to rebound from the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the 4IR provides an unparalleled opportunity for re-igniting economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability. Our partnership with Siemens will foster vocational education and training on critical technical and digital skills.”

4IR has the potential to create high-quality employment opportunities across South African industries if South Africans are strategically skilled in future-oriented jobs, Dlamini says.

The accelerated digitalisation caused by the coronavirus pandemic requires companies and society to respond faster and more efficiently to changing market demands and in times of crises, Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa CEO Sabine Dall’Omo said.

To align with the World Economic Forum’s network of centres, Siemens has developed a comprehensive South African 4IR roadmap, which will empower the country to seize the opportunities of digitalisation and especially Industry 4.0 solutions, while upskilling the South African workforce and creating new high-quality jobs, she explains.

“The business environment is getting more entrenched in the constant technological evolution and the industrial sector has been gradually integrating the use of automation and connectivity in its everyday business practices. This involves the digital transformation of industry to ensure that industrial processes become more adaptable, flexible and efficient and allows businesses to meet customer’s needs in the most reliable way,” says Dall'Omo.

“Siemens is proud to partner with the CSIR with this initiative and is ready to deliver on the 4IR roadmap. Our goal as a company is to make sure that while we focus on continuously adapting, we’re also contributing to uplifting and building a sustainable economy."

Through this partnership, Siemens will also be part of the South Africa Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR-SA) and will assist in positioning the C4IR-SA as a thought leader in innovative digital technologies.

The C4IR-SA, hosted at the CSIR, aims to mobilise public-private partnerships to co-create enabling governance frameworks to optimally harness the potential of 4IR technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and big data for societal advancement.