Industrial training (IT) of engineering undergraduates has always been an integral part of any engineering undergraduate curriculum. While engineering education equips students only with the potential for jobs in engineering, industrial training aims at giving students immediate practical competencies required to do a job. It also creates an opportunity for students to blend theoretical knowledge acquired in the classroom with practical hands-on application of knowledge in industry.

As a way of enhancing the quality of engineering and technology education in South Africa through industrial training, this article suggests a scheme exploring the existing synergy between engineering education and training at South African comprehensive universities (CU), universities of technology (UT) and further education and training (FET) colleges. Consequently, the Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) is proposed. The SIWES suggests that students from CU, UT and FET, having diverse engineering and technology education curricula, should undergo SIWES together at the same place. Through the scheme, transfer of theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills to the parties will be encouraged through various engagements and interactions. Additionally, professional development and team-building amongst these students will be promoted and they will see themselves as a team of engineers-in-the-making rather than competitors. However, workability and sustainability of the proposed scheme depends strongly on the collaboration of the government, industry and the institutions involved in engineering education and training in South Africa.


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