The Technology Stations Programme (TSP) was established to enable Universities of Technology to provide technology development services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Technology Stations provide innovative Science, Engineering and Technology solutions for complex engineering challenges within the relevant industrial sectors aimed at supporting government’s socio-economic priorities. There are 18 Technology Stations (TS) based at 11 Higher Education Institutions in SouthAfrica, managed by the Technology Stations Programme (TSP) Unit based in Pretoria at the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) office.
Institute for Advanced Tooling (IAT) is situated at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Soshanguve South Campus. The institution forms part of the Technology Stations Programme (TSP) and its mandate is to improve the competitiveness of SMEs in the tooling industry, by assisting highly skilled and educated workers to deliver quality products and processes that meet the OEM industry requirements.
In the financial year 2017/18 the DSI provided tech stations with additional funding to target industries, SMMEs, entrepreneurs from rural and poor provinces and/or municipalities. This initiative was called Extending Geographical Footprint. IAT targeted two TVET colleges in Limpopo province that needed assistance in capacity development and upskilling of their lecturers. the colleges were:
- Mopani South East TVET College, Sir Val Duncan Campus, Namakgale, Limpopo
- Vhembe TVET College, Makwarela Campus, Thohoyandou, Limpopo
IAT identified that both colleges required AutoCAD training, to support this initiative the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET) came on board by funding the colleges with computer labs and software installation. The week long training was provided by IAT TUT representatives at the Mopani SE TVET College, where three (3) lectures and forty-two (42) graduates/learners formed part of the training and was offered as a Short Learning Programme (SLP). Upon successful completion of the program, the students and lectures were issued with non-credit bearing certificates from TUT that can be used to improve their CVs when applying for jobs. IAT also provided training at Buffalo City TVET College East London in partnership with Walter Sisulu University. Thirty-two (32) National Certificate Vocational (NCV) students were trained.
Additional training was also provided at Hebron Technical School whereby a teacher was trained on the use of a conventional turning machine, this knowledge was shared through training the learners as part of contributing to their overall technical subjects.
Siyokhela Junior Secondary School in Soshanguve was also part of the training initiative from IAT-TUT, the school had entered a Formula1 School Competition in 2017 the intervention assisted the school in designing a F1 Formula car using a CAD software. This resulted in Nissan coming on board by sponsoring the secondary School with attire, marketing collateral, and branding the schools stand on the day of the Formula1 Competition. The school received the “Best Enterprise and Marketing Team” and scooped the fastest Formula1 car first prize.
These kind of training initiatives according to Technology Station Manager Mr Jeff Makhubela, assisted the lecturers (teachers) to acquire the knowledge and skills to transfer them as part of their daily jobs.