Volkswagen Empowers Kariega Students With Cutting Edge Automation Technology

Volkswagen Empowers Kariega Students with Cutting-Edge Automation Technology

As the landscape of work evolves with the rapid integration of technology, the need for advanced skills becomes more critical. To prepare the next generation for success in this digital era, incorporating technology and automation into the classroom is essential. Daniel Pienaar Technical High School in Kariega stands as a beacon of this educational transformation,…

Volkswagen Empowers Kariega Students With Cutting Edge Automation Technology

As the landscape of work evolves with the rapid integration of technology, the need for advanced skills becomes more critical. To prepare the next generation for success in this digital era, incorporating technology and automation into the classroom is essential.

Daniel Pienaar Technical High School in Kariega stands as a beacon of this educational transformation, integrating automation and robotics into its curriculum. In support of this mission, Volkswagen Group Africa (VWGA) has generously donated a refurbished automation cell to enhance learning. This sophisticated cell includes two Kuka robots (each with a 16 kg workload), two control panels, two pendants, a gripper and attachment, teaching equipment, safety fencing (wire mesh), basic safety and automation training, and detailed electrical drawings.

To ensure the seamless installation, programming, and protection of the equipment, the VWGA Body Shop planning team collaborated with local experts, including Rubicon (power solutions), Robot Technologies of South Africa (robotics), KDA (automation), Siemens (technology), and EME (electrical and mechanical installations).

Bernd Schaberg, Head of Production Planning at VWGA, highlighted the growing importance of careers in automation. “Seventeen years ago, VWGA Body Shop operated with about 30% automation; by 2024, this has increased to 70%. The rise in automation within our operations necessitates advanced skills to operate and maintain new equipment,” Schaberg explained.

Schaberg praised the school for its proactive embrace of technology, which not only encourages problem-solving but also enhances technical proficiency.

Kola du Toit, Principal of Daniel Pienaar Technical High School, emphasized the significance of teaching technology and automation at the high school level. “By introducing our learners to these advanced concepts, we equip them with the foundational knowledge and digital literacy required to navigate the dynamic job market with confidence. The excitement our students feel when they see new equipment in the classroom is palpable. The new automation cell will provide them with a realistic perspective on what to expect in the industry post-graduation,” du Toit stated.

With an enrollment of 1,000 learners, Daniel Pienaar Technical High School offers qualifications equivalent to a Further Education and Training (FET) college N3, with a focus on electrical disciplines. Du Toit addressed the need for technical training and the stigma often associated with vocational careers. “There is a misconception that technical school or FET college students are less educated than university graduates. However, the technical field demands a strong foundation in Mathematics and Science, requiring the same level of logic and critical thinking as academic careers,” he noted.

As the demand for technical skills continues to grow in the industry, technology and automation serve not just as tools for routine tasks but as catalysts for innovation and progress. “By exposing our high school learners to these concepts early on, we cultivate their curiosity, spark their creativity, and inspire critical thinking,” du Toit added.

Through initiatives like this, Volkswagen is playing a pivotal role in shaping the future workforce, ensuring that today’s learners are well-prepared for tomorrow’s challenges.


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