Polytech Africa, a B-BBEE Level 4 start-up engineering consultancy/projects and training specialist, has teamed up with leading supplier, ElectroMechanica (EM), to establish the Mechatronics Academy. The academy will assist in developing the critical skills needed for Industry 4.0 to be adopted successfully in South Africa.

At the launch of the academy, Polytech Africa MD and founder, Astrid Straussner stressed that, “Educational institutions cannot be islands, they need the cooperation of both government and the private sector. This is where EM’s active involvement is so important: it exposes students to the latest products and developments.”

ElectroMechanica the mechatronics academy will focus on the nqf level 2 learnership

The Mechatronics Academy will focus on NQF Level 2 training and qualifications.

The Mechatronics Academy was fast-tracked when EM met Straussner officially about six months ago. EM Director Andrew Nobbs said, “Straussner’s passion and track record in academia and training and her real drive for quality and excellence, was something that really resonated with EM. Following that meeting, we formalised the partnership between EM and Polytech Africa.”

Straussner said her dream to establish such a specialised training facility was finally realised with the involvement of EM. “The Mechatronics Academy has come about at just the right time, because Industry 4.0 is here to stay. We need to have proper training in place to deliver the skills we will need.”

In the keynote address, Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) Director David Mabusela commended the partnership for the launch of the new academy. “This responds to our call for technological innovation to have a more expanded space in the education and training environment,” he said. “We are also working with the Department of Basic Education to address the many gaps at that level. For Industry 4.0 to have any chance of success, especially in a developing country like ours, we need to pay more attention not just at a higher level, but also at early learning and development. This is to ensure that our learners have the advantage of familiarity with, and experience of, technology.”

Mabusela noted that business has a key role to play in disseminating innovation and providing training and employment opportunities. “Both the DHET and the Ministry strongly support this venture. It aligns with the main aim of our National Development Plan to stimulate economic growth, based on skills development and training. This will allow us to address some of the social challenges facing us, including unemployment.”

The Mechatronics Academy is the first training facility of its kind to be accredited by the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (merSETA). It will focus on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 2. This is based on essential aspects of precision mechanical engineering, electronics and computer design systems used to control and automate mechanical products with electrical signals. EM’s specialised products in this regard include its Delta industrial automation range.

On completion of the NQF Level 2 qualification, certificate holders will be able to move into highly skilled sectors such as mechanical and electrical engineering, pneumatics and hydraulics, robotics, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), computer numeric control (CNC), industrial information technology (IT), the automotive sector, and precision welding. 

For more information contact ElectroMechanica, T. +27 (0)11 249 5000, or email: karenz@em.co.za

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