By Selina Rapulane 05 August 2022

Mr Rudiger Schreiner: Lab Assistant conducting a mini training on 3D Printing

This week, 1- 5 August, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) participated in the 2022 National Science Week (NSW) held at the Mondi Science, Career Skills and FET Skills Centre in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga.

VUT was represented by the following teams:

  • Idea 2 Product (I2P) Lab, and
  • French South African Schneider Electric Centre (F’SASEC)

The NSW is an annual event that aims to exhibit and communicate awareness in science. It is an initiative of the Department of Science and Innovation.  The theme for the 2022 edition was: “Celebrating the role of basic sciences in the modern world”.

The idea behind the attendance of the two VUT entities was to engage and inspire all learners from different walks of life, as well as raise awareness, spark enthusiasm and celebrate Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM).

VUT staff members took this opportunity to conduct science-based activities that promoted awareness of STEM in people’s daily lives.

The VUT exhibition area attracted thousands of learners who were eager to learn more about science and technology. Learners were encouraged to participate in hands-on activities such as 3D Printing.  They were also afforded an opportunity to explore the Electrical Engineering field of study.

Represented by Mr Godfrey Nwanekah (Lab Technician) and Mr Rudiger Schreiner (Lab Assistant), the I2P’s exhibition on 3D printing sparked so much interest in learners that they requested school visits to the I2P Lab in Sebokeng to learn more about the technology.

Mr Godfrey Nwanekah: Lab Technician presenting on 3D Printing

“3D Printing is one of the key future technologies, enabling business to cut costs, reduce time to market, produce stronger and lighter parts, improve efficiency, and solve other numerous challenges. So, it’s important for learners to acquire knowledge of this technology from young age and that is why we are here to illustrate the role of science in tackling problems and challenges in our societies, said Nwanekah.

In addition, said Schreiner, “as the 3D Printing industry grows, it is critical for learners to have a thorough understanding and knowledge of the programmes and machines required for 3D Printing”.

Representing FSASEC, Ms Welile Nyembe (Programme Coordinator) and Mr Mxolisi Nkomonde (Training Technician) gave training on the importance of safety measures to take when dealing with electricity. Nkomonde made the learners aware of what is essential to be an Electrical Engineer in today’s world.

Mr Mxolisi Nkomonde: Training Technician preparing to conduct a training on the importance of safety measures to take when dealing with electricity

“The exhibition was both challenging and interesting. Most of the learners that visited our stall did not know even know that there is a designated course for electricians and according to them, one did not need a qualification to pursue a career in electrical engineering. I am happy that I was able to advise and tune them in the right path of valuing the importance of electricity and knowing which steps to take in becoming an electrical engineer.

Mr Joseph Sibiya (Centre Manager at Mondi Science, Career Skills, and FET Skills Centre) expressed appreciation for VUT’s attendance. “It has been a wonderful science week. The presentations from VUT have been exceptional. As the centre, we appreciate it a lot because our learners benefited from their expertise. Our wish for next year is for VUT to bring more than seven teams in the different STEM fields, with models and all projects they have undertaken, to demonstrate and motivate our learners,” said Sibiya.

Approximately 7000 learners participated in activities at the Mondi centre.  Also, 176 exhibitors showcased local innovations in science and technology, to increase learner interest in considering STEM subjects as preferred career options.