R1,6 million for ground-breaking projects

R1,6 million for ground-breaking projects

The Chemical Industry Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) has announced it will be giving two major South African universities R1 647 500 in funding this year to help support research, innovation and work-integrated learning initiatives, as well as contribute towards curbing youth unemployment.

CHIETA CEO Yershen Pillay says the organisation’s 2020-2021 university partnerships are unique as they come at a time when the world is fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been battering economies for over a year, driving unemployment to new highs.

“We are excited to be part of such ground-breaking initiatives aimed at uplifting our society during this tumultuous pandemic. We are determined to ensure that these partnerships as well as our various other interventions will succeed and benefit our communities,” says Pillay.

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in Pretoria North was granted R387 500 for its work-integrated learning programmes. It will partner with pharmaceutical companies to offer these programmes for undergraduate students studying towards pharmaceutical-related qualifications. These students will be able to complete their qualifications and gain workplace experience, creating a pool of graduates for absorption into South Africa’s increasingly important pharmaceutical sector.

Vaal University of Technology (VUT) has received R510 000 to produce nanotechnology from waste glass. VUT’s project involves the collection of waste glass bottles for recycling and conversion into Nanoscilia. “The project will make use of non-returnable bottles that would be sourced from townships in the Vaal region. It will benefit unemployed youths in the townships, who will be collecting and recycling the glass bottles,” Pillay continues.

Nanoscilica products produced from the project will benefit tyre manufactures, pharmaceuticals and plastics industries, which are set to boost South Africa’s exports. The project will also contribute to reducing pollution as used bottles would be recycled.

VUT has been allocated a further R750 000 for an electric car project. The programme will also help Master’s degree students to develop a chitosan membrane for electricity production, which will be used in the development of fuel cell batteries for electric cars.

‘’We are very proud to be part of this innovation as a SETA and we will fully support and take advantage of such new technologies in a modern and fast-changing world to improve and develop our sector,” says Pillay.

Every year the CHIETA, with a mandate to facilitate skills development and training in the chemical and manufacturing industries, extends financial support to tertiary training institutions for work integrated learning.

The SETA also provides grants to learning institutions, designed to help them prepare students for the chemical industries’ job market – ultimately, aiming to ensure it plays its part in addressing South Africa’s high levels of poverty and unemployment.

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