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VUT finds opportunities for collaboration

Dr Hartmunt Domr"ose, Wismar University, visited VUT from 15 February to 26 February to assist Dr Martin with the refinement of the programme and to liaise with key stakeholders within the institution. Dr Martin and Dr Domrose also ran a mini-idea camp with a group of students as a pilot project to test the viability of implementing multi-disciplinary student research and development teams (MSRDTs) within VUT.

Based in the southern-most tip of Gauteng, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) continuously seeks new opportunities for collaboration beyond our borders.

One such collaboration is currently under way with the University of Wismar (Germany), Namibia University of Science and Technology, and VUT.

The collaboration, known as the Voice of Business (VOB), was realised after Wiseman Jack, Executive Director of VUT's International Relations and Advancement Department, collaborated with the mentioned partner universities to set up this special DAAD-funded project.

The main objectives of the project are:

1. To create partnerships between industry and universities;2. To incorporate problem-based learning in the curricula;3. To develop an employability competence course to enhance the employability of students; and4. To promote and strengthen internationalisation.

The VOB project directly impacts on the following institutional objectives:

* SO2 - Build a PQM and institutional curriculum of excellence;* SO4 - Improve the corporate image of the institution;* SO5 - Improve student access and success;* SO6 - Optimise teaching and learning;* SO7 - Enhance research, innovation and commercialisation; and* SO10 - Institutional transformation.

Dr Robert Martin, Executive Director Strategic Alliance, visited Wismar Germany in 2015, where he worked with the other partner institutions to develop a preparatory course which, together with an industry-related project, forms the basis of the VOB programme.

The VOB programme thus aims to provide students with employability skills as well as expose them to real workplace experience. The project team has now developed the preparatory course into a handbook, which is currently assessed by the VUT Curriculum Department.

Dr Martin plans to conduct a pilot of the VOB programme in the second semester and senior students will be invited to participate. It is further intended that VUT students will actively be drawn into solving industry-related problems in multi-disciplinary student research and development teams (MSRDTs).