Monday, 19 April 2010

Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority helps students secure internships

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A R1.98 million grant from the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) will ensure that CPUT students secure internship placements in industry.

The move to establish the CHIETA Student Internship and Learnership Programme at CPUT was promoted by the Chemical Engineering Department, who in recent years has been battling to place students in industry.

Addressing delegates who attended the launch on 9 April 2010 at the Bellville Campus, Head of the Chemical Engineering Department, Prof Daniel Ikhu-Omoregbe said they approached CHIETA for assistance after many companies refused to place students, stating that they could not afford to run internship programmes.

“In recent years it has become increasingly difficult for us as a department to place these students. It is common to see students sitting at home unable to complete their diploma programme for up to a year because they have no place to undertake their one year of industrial placement,” he said.

The battle to secure internship placements has negatively impacted on the department’s throughput rates, with students remaining in the system as they are unable to meet all the requirements of their programme.

Prof Ikhu-Omoregbe said the much-needed grant will now guarantee placements for students in industry and ensure that they graduate in the prescribed time.

According to the grant agreement signed between CHIETA and CPUT, the university will be responsible for approaching industry for placements, while the organisation will cover the cost of the students, relieving companies from having to pay stipends.

CHIETA CEO, Kelebogile Dilotsotlhe said it is vital for their organisation to take a leading role in ensuring students are well equipped for the Chemical Engineering Industry, which currently faces dire skill shortages.

CHIETA, along with all other Sector Education Training Authorities (SETA’s) were recently mandated by the Department of Higher Education and Training to play a more active role in skills development, by collaborating with higher education institutions.

Dilotsotlhe said this is the first collaboration of its kind with a university of technology. “We are proud to be part of creating history, which will be reflected in the lives of these students,” she said.

CPUT Vice-Chancellor, Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga said a lot of effort has been made to infuse work integrated learning into the curriculum.

She said this grant will play a major role in the development of students.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships, Dr Chris Nhlapo welcomed the grant and said it is indicative of a vote of confidence in CPUT.

By Candes Keating

Photograph: Vice Chancellor Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga, and her fellow CPUT representatives accept a grant from CHIETA at the launch of the CHIETA Student Internship and Learnership Programme on 9 April 2010.

Written by CPUT News

Email: news@cput.ac.za