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Empowering the next generation with ‘next-generation’ technology and training

JTB Industrial Solutions supports John Orr Engineering School of Specialisation

South African businesses have a collective responsibility and obligation to give back to the communities and sectors in which they operate, to keep the country moving forward, at a macro- economic and societal level.

In line with this agenda, and their ethos of providing ‘next-generation engineering solutions’, JTB Industrial Solutions (JTB) – an importer and distributor of engineering consumables, equipment and accessories to wide variety of industry sectors locally and pan-Africa – is very pleased to support the recently relaunched John Orr Engineering School of Specialisation in several different ways.

David notes that JTB is passionate about education and training – and is very committed to playing its part in upskilling the next generation. “The school has enjoyed a proud history since it was founded in the 1960s and known previously as John Orr Technical High School,” he says.

“We share the government’s view that promoting industrialisation will have a tremendously positive effect on South Africa’s future. Education has a crucial role to play in addressing the current shortage of skilled people. In fact, it is the foundation required to equip the next generation and empower young people in their future role as the country’s custodians,” he explains.

As part of JTB’s ‘next-generation’ ethos, and its commitment to the relaunching of the school, the company also invited selected pupils to its work premises for training. This involved 8 learners in total – a mix of male and female students – who attended training at JTB and at its supplier YG-1, which manufactures and distributes cutting tools.

“We brought in the group of Grade 11 learners for training on simulation and 3D printing as part of the John Orr School of Specialisation launch celebrations,” explains David, “to offer them a holistic industry and business experience.”

The role of education within industrialization

The John Orr Engineering School of Specialisation supports industrialisation by training its learners on various trades in the Further Education and Training (FET) arena. These include plumbing, electrical, auto-mechanical and auto-electrical, fitting and turning, woodworking, mechanical engineering and welding.

“Having been relaunched under its new name in August, during an occasion attended by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, the intention is for the school to become a benchmark institute for other schools of specialisation, operating at a world-class level, and offering training to teachers from other schools. The facilities must therefore be of the highest standard, and it is here that JTB has been particularly proud to play our part.”

A productive partnership

David explains that the John Orr Engineering School of Specialisation contacted JTB in June 2021, following a referral from a school in Pretoria. “We presented our services to the teachers, and they were happy with our diversity and breadth of knowledge,” he notes. “We then became a partner to the school and were able to advise them regarding the technology they required, and assist them in procuring this technology. In the process, we serviced and refurbished some of the school’s existing machines – as well as donating additional machinery and equipment.”

As a partner to the John Orr Engineering School of Specialisation, JTB very quickly realised the need to advise the school on upgrading its machine tool workshop.

David clarifies: “The purpose of this workshop is to give learners the experience of working in a fully functional industrial workshop. Some of the existing machinery was operating using old technology, which meant it was no longer suitable for teaching purposes. To free up space, we moved a number of these older machines out of the workshop. This was no small task – some of them weighed up to 1.5 tons and required derigging. We hired in a vehicle and spent time clearing the workshop in February of this year.”

Having freed up a significant amount of workshop space, there was now room to bring in three new machines, as well as various tooling items, which JTB supplied. David explains: “While more modern than the previous models, another advantage of the new machinery lies in its significantly improved safety features. This is very important to safeguard the learners within the workshop, and the school has requested our machines going forward.”

After clearing the workshop, JTB repaired the remaining machines that were still functional and fit for teaching purposes – and gave the teachers assistance and training on the operation of various machines.

“It took about two months to revamp the mechanical engineering workshop,” says David, “and it remains a work in progress. We will assist the school to replace machines over time and as required, working within its budget. We also upgraded the schools’ civils workshop with the supply of new benches and vices, and we built a new entrance and guard house for the school.”

In addition, JTB refurbished a shaping machine from the 1960s era and arranged for its display in the school grounds: “It stands today as a testimony to the history of the school, which has played an historic role in educating and literally ‘shaping’ some of the country’s industrial pioneers.”

Next steps for the next generation

“In line with our principle of offering next-generation technology and engineering solutions to our customers, we are also passionate about the next generation of South Africa,” notes David.

“By supporting the John Orr Engineering School of Specialisation, its teachers and learners the latest engineering machinery and technology, we are also assisting with educating and training tomorrow’s young engineers and industrial minds. This will ultimately contribute towards alleviating unemployment and poverty, and future-proof the industry and the economy itself,” he concludes.

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