The fourth Industrial Revolution is having a disruptive effect on economies and the development of digital skills is vital. There is an opportunity, especially in Africa, to embrace new and exponential technologies combined with human talent to accelerate industrialisation and drive economic growth.
With this in mind, Siemens is handing over equipment specifically related to industrial automation that enables integrated engineering to 13 engineering faculties at universities and colleges in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya, as part of the company’s commitment to sustainable skills development across the continent. The value of the equipment is close to R5.5 million.
“The uneven development of the past can only be overcome with locally engineered solutions,” says Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO of Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa. “In an African context, disruptive technology can be seen as an opportunity to leapfrog into the best and most advanced technologies, but this is only possible with access to the right training and equipment.”
Siemens will continue its commitment to Africa and offer long-term support to beneficiaries by ensuring that students are able to train on the most advanced technology available. This will ensure graduates, and therefore the emerging workforce, have the skills necessary to effectively lead large-scale digitalisation across the continent, resulting in long-term benefits to economic growth.
Dall’Omo says, “Convergence of man and machine intelligence will enable a new era of speed, flexibility, efficiency and connectivity in the 21st century. The conversation about man vs machine is not an either/or scenario. Ongoing education and training has a positive effect for both business and society. A strong pipeline of talent with the relevant skills and knowledge is beneficial to governments and businesses, while young people advance into jobs and careers with increased economic opportunity if they have the right skills.”
Factory automation and electrical engineering equipment donations have been made to the following local institutions:
• Northlink College, Western Cape
• Boland College, Western Cape
• Stellenbosch University, Western Cape
• Port Elizabeth College, Eastern Cape
• Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Eastern Cape
• North West University, North West
• University of Pretoria, Gauteng
• Sol-Tech College, Gauteng
• Mangosuthu University of Technology, KZN
Siemens has worked closely with these training institutions for a number of years through its corporate social responsibility efforts. With this handover the company collaborated with each institution to ensure they received the products suited to their specific training needs.
Siemens has a wide portfolio of scalable integrated engineering products and, through their Ambassador programme, Siemens partners with the electrical and electronic engineering faculties of the majority of the key tertiary institutions across the country. Bursaries are awarded to top performing students, with a special focus on those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, to study engineering. Siemens also contributes to the further development of these faculties through the purchase of laboratory equipment and donations of advanced automation and digital tech, to aid and improve the learning experience.
In all cases, a Siemens ‘ambassador’ is appointed to engage with these tertiary institutions and facilitate the transfer of industry best practice and knowledge to the students.
“Our commitment to skills development and our relationships with these institutions goes beyond just this donation,” adds Dall’Omo. “We invest for the long-term and believe that by playing an active role in skills development, locally engineered solutions could catalyse the re-industrialisation of the economy and trigger growth on an unprecedented scale.”
Siemens has, for many years, played an active role in the development of industry in South Africa. As such, the company has a unique understanding of the challenges faced across the African continent, and has proved to be a reliable partner from grassroots level, right through to corporate and government level.
Early next year, Siemens will hand over further donations of automation and electrical engineering equipment to institutions in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya.