Finding strategic partners who are committed to sustainable and meaningful corporate social responsibility should be an important part of any international company’s long-term plan when committing its resources within the South African economy.
SMC Pneumatics South Africa recently stepped forward as co-sponsors of the 2016 PneuDrive Challenge: an engineering design competition that since 2008 has been providing South African mechanical, electronic and mechatronic engineering students with a bridging experience into business reality.
Adrian Buddingh, general manager of SMC Pneumatics, strongly believes that the competition is an important platform for strengthening the quality of South African engineering qualifications. Buddingh points out how system integration is not often fully realised at a university level. “This competition offers the student an opportunity to get exposed to, and consider, other engineering disciplines apart from those covered in their separate faculties. Showing how unusual pneumatic and drive components can be pulled together in a competition type experience is, in reality, a first taste of what they will experience when they get into industry.”
Effective learning needs to go beyond speeches andacademic theory
It is important for local business to seek out opportunities that bring together academic theory, core business products and real-life business learning opportunities for young people. In the engineering industry, key employees of the future will need to be problem solvers, planners, designers and application constructors. They will need to understand the con-sequences of designing applications and know how to apply innovative ideas and solutions across interrelated disciplines. These are learning skills that cannot take place within the context of a traditional four-year academic degree. Learning skills that subject matter experts at SMC Pneumatics are willing to encourage when they get opportunities to interact with students.
Buddingh expresses enthusiasm at being able to support a learning platform that gives students an opportunity to capitalise on their ability to apply theory, and explore innovative ways of bringing pneumatic and drive technology together. “It is a serious challenge for companies who seek to honour corporate social responsibility, to be able to link interventions with their own core business operations. We are confident that we can achieve this through the PneuDrive Challenge.”
Strategic planning for the 2016 competition has commenced and the industry themes and problem statements will be announced before year-end.
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