The continuous revision, development and sustainability of academic programmes at higher education institutions demands a system to train and retrain instructors and academic staff on a continuous basis.
Rössing Uranium partnered with the University of Namibia’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology to enhance the quality of engineering education and professional development of their academic staff through Industrial Engaged Internships.
According to Rössing Uranium’s Specialist: Training and Organisational Development, Sophy Partenbach – Fick, the objective of the Industrial Engaged Internship is to equip academic staff with valuable practical experience to enable them to better understand and link academic programmes to the real work environment.
Ms Victoria Amuthenu, Metallurgical Lecturer and Mr Amtenge Shivute, Mining Engineering Lecturer, were the first beneficiaries of this initiative.
The Lecturers spent six weeks rotating between various sections, from Mining (mine planning, pit operations, primary crushing); Geology (Reverse Circulation drilling, grade control); as well as Processing (from fine crushing to Solvent Extraction). They also spent time on the Tailings Storage Facility.
“We acknowledge that the professional development of academic staff is a vital element in ensuring transfer of knowledge and creating skilled graduates required in the labour market”, Partenbach – Fick said.
Speaking about her experience at the mine, Ms Victoria Amuthenu, Unam’s Metallurgical Lecturer said that one of the key take-away points is the emphasis on employee health and safety at Rössing Uranium. “The mine has implemented initiatives such as Leadership in the Field, Critical Risk Management, Safe Shift Start, and various inductions are conducted to create awareness of health hazards during which employees are reminded about the correct measures to avoid or minimise their exposure to health hazards such as dust and radiation.”
According to Amuthenu, there’s a need for an introductory course in Mining Engineering, and Metallurgical Engineering students to provide them with basic knowledge of Mining Engineering processes and terminologies. Amuthenu added that industry specific safety short courses should also be introduced at universities to provide safety awareness to prospective employees of various industries.
“The six weeks Industrial Engaged Internship was very beneficial and they were afforded an opportunity to present their new learnings to the Rössing management team and took away recommendations on how to improve the academic programmes,” said Partenbach – Fick .
Rössing Uranium remains committed to building its legacy in Namibia’s socio-economic infrastructure.