The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has partnered with Ireland-based engineering services and innovative solutions provider InnoGlobal to bring a short course on Digital Transformation applicable to advanced manufacturing sectors to the African continent.
The Digital Transformation course, developed by InnoGlobal through its higher education institute, InnoPharma Education, will be piloted as a skills training initiative that the UK Newton Fund will fund through the Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA) Big Data project. SARAO, a delivery partner of the UK-South Africa Newton Fund through the DARA and DARA Big Data projects, will lead the local hosting and implementation of the course with the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) South Africa.
Digital Transformation refers to the smart integration of technologies, processes, and data to improve operational effectiveness and capability. In manufacturing, expertise is necessary for process digitalisation, data management, data analytics and visualisation. This will assist in successfully transforming into Industry 4.0. This course introduces the skills and competencies associated with Industry 4.0 digital transformation concepts. Furthermore, it will include applications of these skills to the pharmaceutical, medical technology and food processing/manufacturing industries.
The Digital Transformation course expands the skills training initiatives that the DARA Big Data offers. It will focus on applications of big data technologies in addition to data analytical skills, compliance and ethics. Furthermore, the course builds on the multidisciplinary nature of the DARA Big Data project with the course content applied to advanced manufacturing sectors within the pharmaceutical, medical technology and food systems industries.
“We are excited by this partnership in offering a course that can transform the manufacturing sector in South Africa and on the African continent,” says Dr Bonita de Swardt, SARAO Programme Manager: Strategic Partnerships for Human Capital Development. “The Digital Transformation course will enhance the skills of graduates to meet the skills needs for manufacturing environments for Africa’s transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. SARAO is proud to have played a role in establishing this partnership which will provide upskilling of graduates in preparation for future jobs,” she adds.
The Digital Transformation course will be adapted to an African manufacturing environment with graduates gaining knowledge and skills on smart factory concepts and the evolution of life science manufacturing from a traditional reactive process to the emergence of Industry 4.0 and Pharma 4.0. It is expected that these graduates will be eligible to take up employment within life science organisations working on transforming their processes to integrate data, new technologies, data analytics, improved ways of working and improved support processes.
“We have worked with SARAO’s Human Capacity Development Programme for over five years now to champion the benefits of digital skills and human capital investment within the African Union at various global gatherings, including UN General Assemblies, European Commission and African Union-led workshops. We are delighted to work together on this exciting initiative. It is an excellent opportunity to showcase InnoGlobal’s unique approach to skills coordination and delivery through a public-private partnership with research institutions, funding agencies and industry,” says Dr Ian Jones, Founder and CEO of the InnoPharma Group. “I am confident that this programme will act as a catalyst for further skills initiatives adding to the capability to manufacture medicines, which is much needed on the African continent,” he adds.
This year’s Digital Transformation course will be run as a pilot programme accommodating up to 50 graduates from South Africa and the eight Square Kilometre Array (SKA) African partner countries. The course consists of an online learning component, which a one-week intensive workshop will follow in Cape Town, South Africa. Career guidance and mentorship will be offered to graduates after the course to further increase their employment-finding prospects.
The partners envision that the Digital Transformation course would be adapted to fit a local environment in any region on the African continent through partnerships with industry and academic institutions. This will contribute to creating technical expertise and skills capacity for the continent to transition to a digitised era fully.