Port Elizabeth – General Motors South Africa (GMSA) has renewed its support for the GMSA Chair in Mechatronics at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) – contributing to developing a vital skills base for the automotive industry.
GMSA and the current holder of the Chair, Professor Igor Gorlach, were instrumental in establishing the programme in NMMU’s Engineering Faculty in 2009 in a five-year contract with the University, and renewed the partnership from the beginning of 2014.
“Mechatronics is a scarce skill and a sought-after qualification in today’s highly automated automotive manufacturing environment. We were happy to continue our involvement with the University as the Chair has proved itself in strengthening Mechatronics at NMMU, to the benefit not only of GM but the automotive industry as a whole,” GMSA Training & Organisational Development Manager Wayne Osborne said.
Mechatronics combines a number of aspects of engineering, including mechanical and electrical engineering, robotics, programming and computer-aided design. NMMU is the only university in the Eastern Cape offering a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechatronics, and there are currently approximately 120 students at various levels of the programme.
GMSA’s support for the Chair includes students doing their practical work at the company, getting involved in GMSA projects and gaining valuable on-the-job experience – “creating a win-win for both the students and ourselves”, Osborne said.
He said the company had employed several graduates from the programme and would continue to do so.