Siemens creates opportunities for future employment landscape in Western Cape

Issued by Siemens

· The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to revolutionize the job market and local industries must adapt to survive

· Siemens aims to help accelerate digitalization skills and empower those who will be leading the change

· State-of-the-art automation equipment donated to Stellenbosch University, Boland College and Northlink College.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is having a disruptive effect on economies and the development of digital skills is vital. There is an opportunity, especially in the Western Cape, to embrace new and exponential technologies combined with human talent to accelerate industrialization and drive economic growth.

Specifically, in the Western Cape, industries such as agri-processing and water are undergoing rapid transformation to streamline facilities and increase efficiency. The most effective way to do so is through digitalization and automation, which doesn’t translate into fewer job opportunities, but rather that the job market is evolving to accommodate new industry needs.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs: ‘By 2050, the world’s population will be a third larger than it is today, meaning global food production must be boosted by 70 per cent to feed these extra mouths’.

This will place massive pressure on sectors such as agri-processing and there will be intense demand for workers with the skills to thrive in the digitalized environments that will be required to keep up this rate of production.

Siemens AG Communications Head: Keshin Govender Southern and Eastern Africa 300 Janadel Ave Siemens Africa

According to the 2016 Provincial Economic Review and Outlook, agriculture and agri-processing are responsible for 18% of employment opportunities in the Western Cape. Developing automation and engineering skills relevant to this sector is therefore an important step toward exponential growth in the area.

Similarly, the demand for potable drinking water is already a concern, not only in the Western Cape, but across the globe. Water processing needs to become a lot more efficient. “We’ve reached the point where loss or waste of this precious resource due to poor infrastructure is unacceptable”, says Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO of Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa, “We are already starting to see the need for efficient and flexible skill sets that are required to meet the demands of the water processing industry. We don’t need to look into the future to know that there is a need for workers proficient in automation and integrated engineering to succeed in the Water Processing industry.”

With this in mind, Siemens is donating a selection of its SIMATIC software and input/output modules to Stellenbosch university. The scalable portfolio of the SIMATIC family ensures an optimal solution for every application area and delivers end-to-end consistency. This range forms the core of Siemens’ Totally Integrated Automation (TIA), and will benefit students who are likely to enter an increasingly automated employment landscape.

Northlink College has also received Siemens SIMATIC products, as well as SCALANCE network components designed for use in diverse industrial applications. This will create opportunities for students to be trained in digitalization integrated engineering processes in numerous industries.

The donation to Boland College is a combination of Siemens LOGO! products – that provide fast, uncomplicated and space-saving solutions for basic control tasks. LOGO! has long been a constant as an intelligent logic module for small automation projects.

Says Dall’Omo, “Convergence of man and machine intelligence will enable a new era of speed, flexibility, efficiency and connectivity in the 21st century. The conversation about man vs machine is not an either-or scenario. Ongoing education

and training has a positive effect for both business and society. A strong pipeline of talent with the relevant skills and knowledge is beneficial to governments and businesses, while young people advance into jobs and careers with increased economic opportunity if they have the right skills.”

In addition to Stellenbosch, Boland and Northlink, Siemens is handing over industrial automation equipment to 10 other engineering faculties at universities and colleges in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya. This is part of the company’s commitment to sustainable skills development across the continent. The value of the equipment is close to R5.5 million.

Siemens’ goal is to continue its commitment to Africa and offer long-term support to beneficiaries by ensuring that students are able to train on the most advanced technology available. This will ensure graduates – and therefore the emerging workforce – have the skills necessary to effectively lead large-scale digitalization across the continent, resulting in long-term benefits to economic growth.

Donations of Factory Automation equipment have been made to the following local institutions:

· Northlink College, Western Cape

· Boland College, Western Cape

· Stellenbosch University, Western Cape

· Port Elizabeth College, Eastern Cape

· Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Eastern Cape

· North West University, North West

· University of Pretoria, Gauteng

· Sol-Tech College, Gauteng

· Mangosuthu University of Technology, KZN

Siemens has worked closely with these training institutions for a number of years through its corporate social responsibility efforts. With this handover the company collaborated with each institution to ensure they received the automation and engineering suited to their specific training needs.

Siemens has a wide portfolio of scalable integrated engineering products and, through their Ambassador programme, Siemens partners with the electrical and electronic engineering faculties of the majority of the key tertiary institutions across the country. Bursaries are awarded to top performing students, with a special focus on those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, to study engineering. Siemens also contributes to the further development of these faculties through the purchase of laboratory equipment and donations of advanced automation and digital tech, to aid and improve the learning experience.

In all cases, a Siemens “ambassador” is appointed to engage with these tertiary institutions and facilitate the transfer of industry best practice and knowledge to the students.

“Our commitment to skills development and our relationships with these institutions goes beyond just this donation,” adds Dall’Omo. “We invest for the long-term and believe that by playing an active role in skills development, locally engineered solutions could catalyze the re-industrialization of the economy and trigger growth on an unprecedented scale.”

Early next year, Siemens will hand over the product donations to institutions in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya.