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Business News of Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Source: Seth Krampah

SMIDO in historic partnership with KNUST

The artisanal engineering industry in the country is set to witness a major revolution in modern automobile technology. This follows a historic partnership between the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organization (SMIDO) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST) to establish a unit under the college of Engineering of the University for the Research, Training and Certification of artisan engineers in modern automobile engineering to support the Suame Magazine Automatics Technical Institute (SMATI) project.

SMATI is a model Artisan Technical institutional centre of excellence initiated by SMIDO to ensure the establishment and accreditation of a first-of-its-kind institutional Training centre for skills formation and upgrading for artisan engineers in the country and the West African sub-region.

The partnership was successfully brokered upon the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the two institutions. The Vice-chancellor of KNUST, Prof William Otoo Ellis signed on behalf of the University, whilst Mr.Sarpong Boateng, President of SMIDO signed on behalf of the artisans of Suame Magazine and sister artisan clusters in the Country.

Disclosing this to Graphic in Kumasi, the consultant to SMIDO, Mr. Nyaaba-Aweeba Azongo, said the historic partnership marked a significant milestone in their quest to arrest the imminent collapse of the artisanal engineering industry due to the conflict between current vehicular repair technology which is largely computer-based, and the existing manual vehicular repair skills which is phasing-out with new models of vehicles replacing the old models.

According to Azongo, a functional SMATI driven by KNUST college of Engineering and other technical partners in Ghana and abroad would mean that the traditional apprenticeship system of training artisan engineers would be reformed to streamline admission processes into SMATI who would be attached to trained Master-craftsmen, and ultimately an artisanal engineering Unit within the College of Engineering, KNUST for training, assessment and certification for formal graduation.

The initiative, the consultant indicated is to build Industry- Academia-Government tripartite model to Drive Suame Magazine’s industrialization agenda and to build a local content model for the integration of Suame Magazine into the Mining, Oil and Gas Industry for a more Equity-Based Local Content Enterprise given the labour-intensive character and ease of entry into the industry.

In another Development, Mr.Azongo hinted that there has been a significant advance towards a major international partnership with the globally reputable Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC) in Malaysia as part of the current project. PSDC is the first industry-led skills training centre set-up in Malaysia. The PSDC's is based on a tripartite model which brings together the best of the Industry, Academia, and Government, pooling the appropriate resources and management expertise, and allowing PSDC to provide invaluable advice and guidance on the latest industrial technological progress, along with up-to-date training and educational programs.

As a testimony of their success, PSDC has recorded benchmark visits from government delegations of countries such as China, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Kyrgyzstan and Mauritius etc. PSDC, the source indicated is known to the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, ILO, USAID, UNCTAD and UNIDO. In 1996, in a study funded by USAID, the PSDC was selected as one of the 10 recognized Best Workforce Development Institutions in the World.

The president of SMIDO, Mr. Sarpong Boateng whilst commending artisans of Suame magazine and the Vice-Chancellor of KNUST for exhibiting a rare commitment and cooperation which has led to this historic feat, reiterated his call for Government to seize this historic opportunity to renew Governments pledge as captured in the 2010 budget statement in this year’s budget to support the SMATI project with KNUST.