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Vutshilo's hidden passion and talent for innovation revealed through first prototype

It's not often you find a Human Resource Management student with a strong interest and talent for inventing products for everyday use. However, third year student Mphugana Vhutshilo is proving otherwise.

Vhutshilo, who hails from Nzhelele a village in Dopeni, Limpopo arrived at Vaal University of Technology in 2015 with a keen interest in learning more about 3D printing. He found out about VUT's Idea2Product Lab (I2P) in main campus while googling for universities that offer 3D printing, in such instances one has to pursue a course in engineering or industrial design to take 3D Printing but he applied for Human Resource Management instead.

His resilience and passion for innovation led him to meeting his mentor, Godfrey Nwanekah, a Lab Technician and Industrial Engineer at VUT. He listened to Vutshilo talk about his interest and desire to learn more about 3D printing and agreed to assist him in honing his skills and developing his knowledge. After learning the basics on how to design using 3D software, he advanced his skills further through continuous practice since his first year in VUT. Vhutshilo designed and printed his first prototype within two month sponsored by VUT's Science and Technology Park at I2P Lab in main campus.

Vhutshilo has dozens of ideas for new and helpful inventions and cannot wait to make more prototypes, "since producing one prototype is an expensive task, that can cost up to R2 000 (which include transportation and other logistics), I'm hoping to get funding so that I can realise my dream and grow my potential", he said. Nwanekah says that Vhutshilo's talent and passion can take him far, he's also trying to help him source funding for more prototypes.

Vhutshilo says he'd doing very well in his HRM studies and hopes to study Operations Management after graduating next year. He's also part of VUT ENACTUS and plays a role in designing the innovations for their competitions. He hopes to one day run his own manufacturing company.