Beatriz Montenegro, Dean of Industrial Engineering at the University Santo Tomas in Colombia,
On 31 October the Metallurgy Department, within the Engineering and Technology Department of the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), hosted an exit seminar for their Semester Four (S4) students.
It is a requirement that a student registered for the National Diploma in Metallurgical Engineering, upon completing the theoretical component for a period of two years (four semesters), is trained in a metallurgical environment, be it a production plant or a research facility, for a period of 12 months. After completing the theoretical and practical training, the student qualifies as a technician.
The Department realised the need to engage with the second-year students prior to them leaving the institution for their Work Integrated Learning (WIL) in order to properly prepare them for the workplace.
The seminar was aimed at bringing the Department, the employer and the student together under one roof. This was done in order to clarify the different roles the three parties would undertake in getting the student from university to the workplace and into the real world.
“A go-getter attitude is needed in the industry. Be willing to do lower-level jobs, get your hands dirty (involve yourself in everything), maintain a good relationship with your mentors, drive your own programmes,” said Mr Derrick Shai, a Senior Metallurgist at Glencore.
VUT alumnus, Mr Shelton Tleane who is a Welding Coordinator at Murray & Roberts, spoke about being an active trainee who is constantly looking for growth opportunities in the workplace. He further highlighted the importance of measuring oneself and ensuring that you keep track of your success and failures so as to identify areas for improvement.
On top of a BTech qualification in Metallurgical Engineering, Mr Tleane holds an International Welding Technologist certificate. He thus raised awareness amongst the students to look for opportunities that will enhance their qualifications and allow them to become specialists.
Beatriz Lorena Rodriguez Montenegro, Dean of Industrial Engineering at the University Santo Tomas in Colombia, shared what they call the Panorama of Engineering which includes “innovation, a multidisciplinary approach and internationalisation. Their dropout rates are low and students’ employability results are currently sitting at 70%. She also shared the desired attributes of an engineer and functions that will help the students to prepare for the work place.
Representing the VUT Corporate Department, Edwin Mabelane enlightened the students about the functions of the Department and how they can assist them in terms of getting experiential training.