First Chemical Process Technology students graduate at NMMU

APRIL 15, 2016

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is celebrating the graduation of its very first intake of Chemical Process Technology students – the pioneering diploma course which was tailor-made to meet the critical scarce-skills needs of South Africa’s chemical processing industry.

Of the 14 diplomates graduating this week, 10 have already found employment in the industry, which includes gas and oil production and refining, metal processing and the production of many industrial and household products.

“Each one of these graduates can directly apply the knowledge and skills learned in the Chemical Process Technology course,” said programme leader Dr Shawn Gouws. The chemical processing industry is responsible for more than 20% of South Africa’s manufacturing Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The course, the only one of its kind in South Africa, was launched in 2013 and currently has 74 enrolled students. It was developed in close collaboration with international experts, based on a competency profile for a chemical process technician.

“The course was designed with industry participation to meet the needs of the national and international chemical and petroleum industry, including daily operations such as material handling, product storage, transport and handling, process control and more,” said Gouws.

Students in the course gain hands-on practical training at NMMU’s pilot working chemical production facility, the only such facility at a South African university. “This provides for seamless integration into a real-life working environment,” said Gouws.

The course also includes a six-month experience-based learning component that must be completed in an industrial setting.

All the graduates received bursaries for their studies and in-service training, from PetroSA, BASF, Umicore SA and Heraeus. The Nigerian government sponsored two students from that country.

Image: A FIRST AT NMMU… The University's first group of National Diploma: Chemical Process Technology students, along with their programme co-ordinator Dr Shawn Gouws (right), include (from left) Seiyefa Otokolo, Thulani Hoboshe, Andile Fanayo, Nosipho Ndubaza, Daniel Botua, Sinazo Gontsi,  Saabier Mathews, Noluvo Nunge, Sinobomi Mntuyedwa, Mulalo Lusunzi and Lindokuhle Nzelani.