In alignment with its focussed strategy to support the South Africa Automotive Masterplan 2035 - and specifically the Skills and Localisation pillars - the AIDC has proposed to establish the academy to develop skills to support not only the automotive but all industry with access to technology and skills pertinent to Industrie 4.0 and SMART Factories.
The workshop of stakeholders was identified as a key milestone towards realisation of the project at a meeting between the AIDC EC and Deutsche Messe in Germany in September 2018, when the AIDC conducted a learning mission to understand how the world's foremost manufacturing nations are ensuring that they are globally competitive in an increasingly technology-driven sector.
Role-players, including VWSA, the dti, Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs, the Coega Development Corporation and Jendamark met in the facilitated session to unpack the proposed value proposition and shape a way forward.
AIDC EC Board Chairperson Weza Moss said the outcomes of the workshop with stakeholders were to grow the understanding of the 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 Deutsche Messe Technology 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, a global player in turnkey production solutions, is confident of laying the foundation for the very 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.''
Making the most of the presence of German technology partner, Deutsche Messe Training Academy, the stakeholder engagement was followed by an open half-day seminar for industry delegates on Smart Industrial Academy – driving Industrie 4.0.
The AIDC EC, established 2003 is focused on developing and growing the global competitiveness of manufacturers, had identified through "rigorous consultation and engagement" that it would achieve this best by supporting the sector's transformation and skills, Moss said.