As the country continues to work towards economic recovery through modernisation and industrialisation, the need to bridge the gap between academia and industry has become critical in order to come up with practical and innovative solutions that address real life challenges.
In that vein, 41 students from the University’s Faculty of Mining and Mineral Processing Engineering’s departments of Metallurgical Engineering and Mining Engineering embarked on industrial visits to Craster International in Harare and Bindura Nickel Cooperation (BNC) on the 8th and 9th of May 2018. The main objective of the industrial visits, was to go beyond theory or academics and give students a practical perspective on industry work processes and functions in order to help bridge the gap between theoretical and practical aspects of their curriculum.
BNC Laboratory Manager, Mr Warren Mchina commended the University for engaging with industry, noting that it was a valuable move in producing relevant and qualified human resources for the industry.
‘The relationship between industry and academia is an important one that must be nurtured for the benefit of both parties and the country at large. Academic institutions provide graduates who are absorbed in industry and this function must be such that graduates are a perfect fit in industry. A clear understanding of industrial needs is thus required, he said.
Mr Mchina, further applauded the University for incorporating industrial visits in its curriculum, noting that it was a clear demonstration of Midlands State University’s commitment to being a stakeholder-driven institution, which produces graduates that are industrially relevant.
Speaking after the students’ tour of the BNC laboratory, plant and mine, Mr Mchina also noted the important role played by mining engineers and metallurgists in the mining industry and highlighted areas that need to be enhanced such as, the industrial applicability of academic research, the provision of consulting services by academic institutions, access and/or exposure to existing and future technologies, as well as industry support for research.
Commenting on the side-lines of the industrial visits, Mr T Nyomombe, a technician in Faculty of Mining and Mineral Processing Engineering, said the visits were an integral part of students’ learning process.
As part of their visits, students had an opportunity to tour plants, go underground, interact with experts and various resource persons as well as gain valuable insight on work practices, operational and manufacturing processes and the technologies employed in the work environment.
Speaking after their tour of various mining and manufacturing facilities, students expressed their gratitude to the University as well as their hosts, for giving them an opportunity to explore industrial realities and learn more about the world of work.