Inauguration of two prototype Franco-South African training centers enhance outlooks for future collaborations in S&T
On 20 and 22 March 2012 respectively, two Franco-South African training centers were officially opened at the Vaal University of Technology and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, in the presence of the French Ambassador to South Africa, the Attaché for Science and Technology at the French Embassy in Pretoria and high-level officials from the French Ministry of Youth and Education (MENJVA). Speaking at the inauguration of the FSASEC at the Vaal University of Technology, Ambassador Jacques Lapouge remarked that these projects are “essential to one of the most important and rewarding aspects of French diplomacy in South Africa, being at the crossing point of higher education, capacity building, high technology as well as economic development”.
These two centers, which are the first of their kind in South Africa, were conceptualised around a tripartite agreement involving a French industry, a South African university and the MENJVA. This structure has several advantages :
1. The training center offers students up-to-date higher education and professional training programmes and equipment ;
2. The programme results in the creation of a skilled workforce with immediate employability prospects, which will make a valuable contribution to markets ; and
3. World class expertise are transferred from skilled, highly knowledgeable professionals allocated to the respective training centers by the MENJVA.
The centers act as prominent anchoring points for the development of clusters in the areas of research, innovation and more generally, heightened public interest. Moreover, these centers aim to equip historically disadvantaged students with intensive practical- as well as sound theoretical knowledge of subject matter through access to innovative technologies and internationally competitive training programmes.
F’SASEC – The Franco-South African Schneider Electric Training Center at the Vaal University of Technology
F’SASEC will provide advanced training for junior- and senior technicians in the fields of electricity, energy and automated systems control. The premises furnished by the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), are equipped with cutting-edge equipment from Schneider Electric. The center will run under the direction of the French professor, Alexandre Sebastiani, who was seconded to the training center by the MENJVA.
This center is the first collaborative project between the French authorities and the VUT and should ideally serve as a foundation for future partnerships in research and innovation. The joint ambition of the French and South African partners implicated in the project is to eventually develop joint research projects, notably within the context of joint PhD qualifications and insightful student exchanges.
PLMCC – The Product Lifecycle Management Competency Center (PLMCC) at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology
The PLMCC aims to train engineers to be immediately operational upon entry into industries and laboratories after graduation. Based on the three-dimensional modelling software suite developed by Dassault Systèmes, the training offers students in-depth knowledge of the global standards for the development of new products in many industrial fields.
Located at the CPUT, in the same building as the fully functional Franco-South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI), the PLMCC is directed by Stéphane Bouyé as provisioned by the MENJVA. This training center is designed to be a platform available to all the departments of the resident university, facilitating the implementation of new Franco-South African research collaborations, particularly in partnership with the F’SATI.