Tebogo Moleha (22) and Thabang Modise (23) are mechatronics engineers who believe that more artisan skills are needed to create jobs and position South Africa to better capitalise on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Mechatronics is the combination of electrical and mechanical engineering and information technology.
People who study mechatronics can choose from a wide range of careers such as being an a mechanical design engineer, data scientist or a software engineer.
They also can open their own technology based businesses in the IT, mechanical or electrical engineering sphere.
Moleha and Modise are among the best in their class and recently showed off their expertise in an international skills competition held in Russia. Moleha, a mechatronics student at the Tshwane University of Technology, believes the development of more artisans and engineers in fields such as mechatronics will ensure the innovation South Africa needs to re-invent its future.
“With mechatronics, you can create your own design and manufacture something on your own,” Moleha said. Modise also a student of mechatronics at the Sedibeng Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College, said; “Mechatronics and other artisan trades give you the opportunity and skills to say, ‘I can start my own thing. I can be an employer. I can be anything’.”
He explained that artisans can get a job and also do sideline work until they are ready to branch out on their own. Another positive aspects of becoming an artisan is that there is a shortage of artisan skills in the country, which means that graduates are more likely to find employment.
“TVET colleges are very important in developing artisans because students are exposed to the equipment that is used in companies while gaining practical experience,” said Modise.