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CSIR, Siemens unlock digital skills for college students

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CSIR CEO Dr Thulani Dlamini and Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa CEO Sabine Dall’Omo.
CSIR CEO Dr Thulani Dlamini and Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa CEO Sabine Dall’Omo.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and industrial manufacturing company Siemens South Africa have entered into a partnership to empower the country’s students with digital skills.

The organisations yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding to provide technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges with critical technical and digital skills to contribute to the employability of students and enhancement of the quality of job profiles.

Siemens has a long-standing cooperation with various TVET colleges across SA.

Siemens and the CSIR are encouraging additional TVET colleges in the country to also become involved and apply to participate in the programme, which will provide skills across the digital spectrum, including data science, advanced IT skills in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Through this partnership, Siemens says it will also be part of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR-SA) and will assist in positioning the C4IR-SA as a thought leader in innovative digital technologies.

The C4IR-SA, hosted at the CSIR, aims to mobilise public-private partnerships to co-create enabling governance frameworks to optimally harness the potential of 4IR technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and big data for societal advancement.

Speaking at the signing event yesterday, CSIR CEO Dr Thulani Dlamini said the partnership with Siemens forms part of the CSIR strategy which aims to foster partnerships with the private and public sectors to respond to the needs of industry in order to improve the lives of South Africans.

“We are very pleased to join hands with Siemens in this huge and compelling task of ensuring that our country does not miss out on the gains of the 4IR. The CSIR strategy requires us to work very closely with the private sector to address the needs of industry and society, and to use science and technology to fast-track digital skills of the future. To achieve this, the organisation is leveraging emerging technologies, especially those rooted in the 4IR, as well as its current capabilities and those of its partners,” said Dr Dlamini.

With the advent of the 4IR, organisations and governments the world over have emphasised the importance of equipping citizens with the necessary skills to thrive in a digital society.

Dr Dlamini pointed out the 4IR has the potential to create high-quality employment opportunities across South African industries if citizens are strategically skilled in future-oriented jobs.

Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa CEO Sabine Dall’Omo said the accelerated digitalisation caused by the coronavirus pandemic requires companies and society to respond faster and more efficiently to changing market demands in times of crises.

“Siemens is proud to partner with the CSIR with this initiative and is ready to deliver on the fourth industrial revolution roadmap. Our goal as a company is to make sure that while we focus on continuously adapting, we’re also contributing to uplifting and building a sustainable economy,” said Dall’Omo.

To align with the World Economic Forum’s network of centres, Siemens says it has developed a comprehensive South African-focused 4IR roadmap, which will empower the country to seize the opportunities of digitalisation and especially Industry 4.0 solutions, while upskilling the South African workforce and creating new high-quality jobs.

“The business environment is getting more entrenched in the constant technological evolution and the industrial sector has been gradually integrating the use of automation and connectivity in its everyday business practices. This involves the digital transformation of industry to ensure industrial processes become more adaptable, flexible and efficient and allows businesses to meet customers’ needs in the most reliable way,” concluded Dall’Omo.

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