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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  01 Sep 2011

EDUCATION: VUT Announces Schneider Electric Training Centre


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Global specialist in energy management, Schneider Electric South Africa has teamed up with the French Ministry of Education and the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) to launch a centre aimed at training electricians, electrical technicians, and electrical engineers.

Named the French-South African Schneider Electric Training Centre, the new facility is in line with the Department of Higher Education and Training’s vision of accelerating artisan training across the country.

This project enjoys the support of the Embassy of France in South Africa, under the auspices of its partnership programme with the South African government, aimed at addressing the shortage of young, skilled South Africans.

The Purpose of the Schneider Electric Training Centre

According to Prof. Deon de Beer, executive director: technology transfer and innovation at the VUT, the purpose of the training centre is to provide a number of programmes in the field of energy, electricity and automation, from basic certification right through to advanced certifications, that are equivalent to university graduate and postgraduate level studies. In addition, it is his vision that the centre will act as a hub from which to support and service the community, educational institutions and industry.

“Once the centre is completed, we will be able to provide well equipped facilities as well as intensive guidance and support to the students in order to ensure that they are well skilled and competent upon completion of their studies,” he explains.

In terms of involvement in the centre, the French Ministry of Education, in collaboration with VUT, will provide infrastructure, manage the process and supply technical experts to spearhead curriculum development, while Schneider Electric South Africa will kit the centre out with state-of-the-art equipment needed for training and research.

Schneider Electric Gives Back

“Schneider Electric has also agreed to place qualified students into a working environment so that they can be mentored by a qualified artisan within the industry for a period of six months,” explains Carl Kleynhans, Schneider Electric South Africa country president. “This is to ensure that they display the necessary competence to operate successfully within this sector.

“We truly believe that this initiative will assist in increasing our local skills pool, empowering graduates to start their own businesses, ultimately creating broader employment opportunities.”

Furthermore, the Schneider Electric Foundation, an organisation under the auspices of the Fondation de France that is committed to concrete and sustainable training, reconstruction and awareness projects around energy management, has provided additional funding toward the total project from an infrastructure perspective.

In line with the overall energy management theme, the VUT department of electrical engineering is currently using solar energy to provide power to the centre of excellence in applied electronics. Solar energy is produced by using a system which includes solar tracking panes linked to fuel cells which produce hydrogen gas from water, which is then used to produce electricity. The French-South African Schneider Electric Training Centre is due to enrol its first intake of students in September this year.

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