ISTMA BRICS Forum Focus On Technical Skills Development

Dirk van Dyk ISTMA BRICS Forum

Funding by the BRICS Bank can give skills development in South Africa, especially in the production environment, a huge boost says Dirk van Dyk, South African representative at the BRICS Forum of the International Special Tooling and Machining Association (ISTMA World).

ISTMA represents associations from 20 countries and serves as the centre of expertise for the worldwide special tooling and precision machining industry – a key support function for global manufacturing. Collectively, ISTMA member associations represent over 8,000 companies with an estimated 70 billion US dollars in annual sales.

The ISTMA BRICS Forum was established in Shanghai, China in June 2016 to serve as a global networking hub to pursue and access BRICS initiatives and to share best practices and information among member countries.

The Forum operates parallel to the ISTMA European Tooling Forum that aims to strengthen the competitiveness and leadership of European high added value engineering in world markets.

The BRICS Forum serves as a lobby group to influence policy, create linkages and promote solution development through partnerships. It is an important tool to generate financial resources linked to capacity building for the member countries.

Van Dyk says one of the Forum’s main focus points now is the development of a BRICS funding framework for skills development support. Constructive engagement took place between South Africa and Brazil at the recent ISTMA World General Assembly in Brazil to create a basis for the proposed funding model.

“I am optimistic that when South Africa chairs BRICS next year, all funding protocol and procedures will be finalised” says Van Dyk.

Van Dyk believes the highly successful South African INTSIMBI National Tooling Initiative (NTI) can offer several exciting possibilities for application in the BRICS countries.

The multi-stakeholder initiative was introduced by the Toolmaking Association of SA (TASA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) to rehabilitate the declining tooling sector in South Africa.

INTSIMBI NTI is currently piloting the advanced manufacturing sector solutions required for skills and enterprise development in the R15 billion local direct tooling industry.

Van Dyk points out that the international standards (ANSI) based modular training components can be integrated into any country’s manufacturing skills development systems.

“It is a successful partnership model between industry, training institutions and government and offers a tested student selection, recruitment and support system. The training modules of the modernised curriculum are flexible and offers from basic to engineering skills in the tooling industry.”

Van Dyk says South Africa has already signed an agreement for the implementation of the model by Brazil.

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