The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande together with the Fiber Processing And Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authorities (FP&M SETA) invites members of the media to join them on the launch of the Richmond-Indaleni Skills Innovation Hub.

The Hub has a strong focus on the clothing, textiles, leather and footwear industries and includes the latest tools and technology that can be utilized in the space for additive manufacturing.

The expansion of the current Innovation Hub into a larger integrated center that incorporates advanced Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) tools and technology (e.g., drone technology, business-related robotics learning, and Virtual Reality-integrated learning) aims to provide access to innovation-related tools, information and resources, and is designed to empower people to become more innovative in problem-solving, create opportunities for new businesses, create jobs, and tackle social issues in their community.

The 4IR Integrated Centre aims to support local learners, entrepreneurs, designers, small scale CTFL manufacturers, and innovators, working in this sector. This hands-on approach to learning will enable learners to develop innovative solutions to complex problems, ultimately improving their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

In addition, the use of cutting-edge technology will make the learning experience engaging and interactive, motivating learners to achieve their full potential. Ultimately making great advancements in improving the economy of Rural KZN. The 4IR Integrated Centre is established using green technologies.

The key social and economic drivers for a 4IR Integrated Centre include access to opportunities for previously marginalized communities, skills development and capacity building, entrepreneurship and business opportunities, sustainable development practices, and economic empowerment and social upliftment, and making use of the Centre.

The expansion of the Innovation Hub to incorporate a mobile, green (solar powered) 4IR Integrated Centre includes the following elements:

• Training/multipurpose space;
• Multiple focused tech and workspaces for robotics, VR, Drones; and
• Co-working space.

In addition to the Innovation Centre and 4IR Integrated Centre, two computer labs on site will be upgraded to include video conferencing and collaboration technology. These classrooms will be supplied with the latest C-Touch screens that come with video conferencing and hybrid training technology as well as tools for online and classroom collaboration. The entire College will also have high speed WIFI installed and maintained.

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