Industry 4.0 for South African vocational school teachers

East Bavarian Inter-Company Education and Training Centre (ÜBZO) • Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the TrainMe project in Pretoria

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The East Bavarian Inter-Company Education and Training Centre (ÜBZO) is involved in the TrainMe project, the full title of which is "Modular training and education of South African TVET lecturers in mechanical and electrical engineering". The programme began at the start of 2018 and has a scheduled term of three years.

The aim is to use the German dual system of training as a reference point to pursue further development of the training and continuing education of South African vocational school teachers. Once they have successfully completed the course, teaching staff will be in a better position to prepare their students for the requirements of the labour market and for the challenges of Industry 4.0 in particular.

The project builds upon close cooperation extending back for many years between state organisations, vocational education and training (VET) institutions and companies in Germany and South Africa. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is financing this training approach within the scope of its "Internationalisation of vocational education and training" funding programme.

Alternating face-to-face and online phases of learning

The ÜBZO is joining forces with the Institute of Educational Science (IfE) at the University of Stuttgart to develop and pilot a modularised curriculum for serving vocational school teachers. Contents will be imparted during a sequence of alternating face-to-face and online phases of learning. The objective is that teachers should expand their subject-specific, didactic and pedagogical competences on an ongoing basis. They will be provided with the skills and guidance they need to design and implement teaching and learning arrangements, which they then will reflect upon with the aid of research support.

They will also improve their technical skills in the context of the equipment and learning infrastructure available in South Africa. The project focuses on the subject-specific and technical craft trade skills-related contents of the training and continuing education modules covered in the occupational fields of mechanical and electrical engineering.

As far as quality assurance of the project is concerned, the plan is to conduct an initial pilot once requirements have been identified and the modules have been designed. This is to be conducted across four phases. A period of self-study with online tutoring will be followed by a face-to-face phase involving practical training. The plan then is for implementation to take place in the colleges. There will be a final face-to-face phase including follow-up coaching, networking and further training. A second piloting and final transfer will not occur until this phase has been evaluated and improvement measures have been carried out.

"The best training I ever had"

Project Head Carina Adam from the ÜBZO reports on how the success of the measure will be ensured beyond the end of the project. "We are currently involved with the first pilot phase, in which 21 vocational school teachers from 21 different colleges are participating. Eight of these are from the specialist area of engineering, and 13 are from the field of electrical engineering. The idea is that master trainers will be selected from this group. After the end of the project, these trainers will then teach our modules at a continuing education institution which it is planned that the automobile industry will fund and at their own schools. Until then, we are being permitted to use the facilities at the Artisan and Skills Development Centre at Ekurhuleni East TVET College for the face-to-face phases."

Initial surveys on the quality of the training have now been conducted with the participants. The answers received reveal that the vocational school teachers are extremely satisfied with the professional expertise of the German trainers. Responses range from: "The trainers are very passionate about what they do which is something I am taking home" to: "It was the best training I ever had."


This sucess story was first published in the iMOVE publication Developing Skills for Employability with German Partners • 8 Case Studies of Train-the-Trainer Solutions.

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