Smart academy boost for EC auto industry

04 February 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201913436


KEY automotive industry and government stakeholders meeting in Coega, near Port Elizabeth, recently have backed ambitious plans to establish a Smart Industrial Academy in South Africa.

The Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) proposed the establishment the academy to develop skills to support not only the automotive but all industry with access to technology and skills needed to prepare them for fourth industrial revolution. The plan is inalignment with its strategy to support the South Africa Automotive Masterplan 2035 - and specifically the Skills and Localisation pillars -

The workshop of stakeholders was identified as a key milestone towards realisation of the project at an earlier meeting between the AIDC EC and trade fair operator Deutsche Messe in Germany. The AIDC was there to gain an understanding of how the world's foremost manufacturing nations are ensuring that they are globally competitive in an increasingly technology-driven sector.

Role-players, including Volkswagen South Africa, the Department of Trade and Industry, Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs, the Coega Development Corporation and production solutions company Jendamark met to plot a way forward.

AIDC EC Board Chairperson Weza Moss said the aim was to grow an understanding of the academy project, provide principle commitment - pending due processes - and plan a clear roadmap for potential implementation.

The Smart Industrial academy is earmarked to be established by the AIDC EC, in partnership with key stakeholders, partners and Deutsche Messe Training Academy. The academy operates industry academies worldwide and forecasts to have established 10 Robotics Academies by 2021 globally with the view to a worldwide network of “industry academies”.

The AIDC Eastern Cape, together with its partners, including the support of Jendamark, is confident the deliberations at the workshop will lay the foundation for the first academy of this magnitude in Africa.

Deutsche Messe spokesperson Thomas Rilke said the academies operated by the Deutsche Messe Training Academy focus on areas of technology that are transforming entire industries.

"Deutsche Messe AG and Volkswagen AG share common interests in educating and informing SMEs in Automation Robotics and Industry 4.0 while Fraunhofer IFF is acting as an international research partner for Automation, Robotics and Industry 4.0'', Rilke said.

Commenting on the Smart Robotics Academy, Moss said its development was essential to secure jobs where manufacturing would become increasingly automated.

“Manufacturing is the biggest driver of jobs in the Eastern Cape, which is why investment in skills must be a top priority,” Moss said.

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