Chemical Engineering department takes students to industry to learn the real world of work

Chemical Engineering students at one of the water treatment plants

Regularly, MUT academics take their students to the industry so they can observe what they are learning, in theory, happening in real. It was for this reason that Zandile Jingxi, a Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Sithembiso Makhathini, and Nhlakanipho Madlala, both Industrial Technicians in the same department, took 115 S1 and S2 students to the Durban Height Water Treatment Plant, Hazelmere Water Treatment Plant and Amanzimtoti Water Treatment Plant on 25 and 26 April 2024.

Jingxi defined the industry visit as an enriching experience for students, aimed at enhancing their educational journey, and better preparing them for the real world. Jingxi said the visit was also aimed at cultivating a sense of responsibility and professionalism among students as they observe workplace etiquette and the importance of time management and discipline. The students also gained an insight into the operations of a vital facility responsible for ensuring a safe and clean water supply to communities, reported Jingxi.

The visit also offered the students a chance to interact with professionals from whom they gained valuable insights into various processes involved in water treatment, such as filtration, disinfection, and distribution.

Tebogo Dibakoane, an S1 Chemical Engineering student, said the trip was an eye-opener for her. She said what they saw in the industry would influence their views regarding the future. Some of the lessons she took away with her were the importance of using the appropriate personal protective equipment, such as lab coats, hard hats, safety goggles and covered shoes. Tebogo continued: “I also learned about the processes needed for the water to be cleaned; this includes the different stages of the water treatment such as abstraction, disinfection with chlorine, flash mixing with poly, sedimentation and filtration, and the distribution chamber before water is sent to the reservoir, then to the municipality.”