Volkswagen enhances technical learning experience in classroom


To equip the next generation with the right skills to thrive in this new era, the Volkswagen Group Africa (VWGA) has embarked on a mission to support technology and automation in the classroom.

The automobile giants equipped learners of the Daniel Pienaar Technical High School, Kariega SA, to meet 21st-century skills demands.

The Kariega High School in its transformation process, typifies this transition to technology and the inclusion of automation and robotics.

The VWGA donated a refurbished automation cell for learning purposes. The cell consists of two Kuka robots (16 kg workload), two control panels, two pendants, one gripper and attachment, teaching equipment, safety fencing (wire mesh), basic safety and automation training and electrical drawings.

To ensure the equipment is installed, programmed and protected professionally, the VWGA Body Shop planning team worked with local partners which include Rubicon (power solutions), Robot Technologies of South Africa (robotics), KDA (automation), Siemens (technology) and EME (electrical and mechanical installations) for a comprehensive installment.

Head of Production Planning at VWGA, Bernd Schaberg, emphasised the need to nurture future careers in automation at an early stage for greater impact.

“About 17 years ago, VWGA Body Shop operated with about 30 percent automation; in 2024, this number has increased to 70 percent. An increase in automation in operations means an increase in the skills required to operate and maintain new equipment,” he said.

Schaberg commended the school for embracing technology which encourages problem-solving and enhances technical abilities.

Principal, Daniel Pienaar Technical High School, Kola du Toit, underscored the importance of teaching technology and automation in high school. He emphasized that it empowers learners with the foundational knowledge and digital literacy skills they need to confidently navigate the dynamic job market.

“When our learners see new equipment in the classroom, they get excited. The new cell will give them perspective on what to expect in industry once they leave high school,” said Du Toit.

Daniel Pienaar Technical High School has 1,000 learners and offers a qualification equivalent to a Further Education and Training College N3, focusing on electrical disciplines. Du Toit said there is a need for technical training, but there seems to be a stigma attached to learners who pursue vocational careers. “There is a perception that learners who study at technical schools or Further Education and Training Colleges are lesser educated than university graduates, yet with Mathematics and Science as prerequisite subjects in the technical field and require the same level of logic and critical thinking as academic careers.”

With the demand for technical skills in industry, technology and automation are not just tools for performing routine tasks—they are engines of innovation that drive progress and change. “By exposing our high school learners to these concepts early on, we cultivate their curiosity, spark their creativity, and inspire them to think critically,” Du Toit added.

Volkswagen of South Africa (Pty) Ltd, trading as Volkswagen Group Africa, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Aktiengessellschaft (VWAG) in Germany.

In addition to its South African operations, Volkswagen Group Africa is also responsible for the Sub-Saharan Africa region and North African markets. In terms of its production footprint, Volkswagen Group Africa currently has assembly facilities in Ghana, assembling T-Cross, Tiguan, Teramont, Amarok, and a new addition Virtus.

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