The Autotronic Laboratory of the Takoradi Technical University’s Mechanical Engineering Department has received a boost with a donation of a $20,000 live Caterpillar Engine from Mantrac Ghana for students’ practicals.
The 3,406-capacity live engine was donated to the University, under Mantrac Ghana’s Caterpillar Technician for Africa social responsibility programme, to give students a hands-on feel of industrial engines.
The Vice-Chancellor of the Takoradi Technical University (TTU), Professor John Frank Eshun, while receiving the engine at the Autotronic laboratory, said the donation is timely as TTU, through its recently-launched five-year strategic plan, is looking forward to such appropriate industry support in order to achieve its mandate of a true Technical University that produces industry-cut technicians.
“The Council, management and students appreciate Mantrac for coming to our aid with this equipment for training. We believe the academia-industry relationship that you have shown must be an example to all companies in our catchment. The University is there to help the industry with well-trained technicians to help solve their problems or deliver their services. So we need to interact with industry to find out their problems to enable students to solve problems with the industry.”
“That is why these Technical Universities were established. So there should be a strong relationship with the industry, and therefore you donating such equipment is a very laudable thing and fits into our strategic plan. We will make good use of the equipment and keep interacting with you to see how best we can redesign our curriculum to meet your needs so that we will be able to address the needs of society,” he said.
The Component Rebuild Centre Operations Manager of Mantrac, Andrew Sarson, who handed over the engine, encouraged TTU to incorporate the theoretical teaching with practicals, especially having the students in the field.
“The theory can be there but you must also have the practicality to help students have a feel of what is there. So we look forward to collaborating with TTU on our Technician for Africa Programme, which is a programme for Africans seeking a new and exciting career as service technicians. We encourage the university authorities to adopt the T4A programme as part of the engineering department curriculum, as this will give students an added advantage over their counterparts from other universities, in terms of technical skills and practical know-how,” he said.
The Dean of TTU’s Faculty of Engineering, Professor John Bentsil, said the faculty has been looking forward to using the Caterpillar engine for practical studies since its arrival, hence the formal handing over marks the beginning of critical practical training to prepare students for the job market.
James Tawiah Kwame Aggrey, the Principal Technician at the Electro-Tronic Laboratory, explained how essential the live engine was for their training.
“The heavy-duty Caterpillar engine is a complete engine. This engine can be fitted into so many earth-moving machines, for example, the dozer or Caterpillar grader. We can use this engine for demonstrations and parts identification for students. This is a physical component that when you go to the job market you will be able to identify. After schooling, these are the exact components you are going to work with. So we train students on how to identify, for example, the turbocharger, how it is fitted and how it looks like. [Having a] live engine means that this engine can be put into running,” he said.
Mantrac Ghana, in addition to the donation, extended an invitation to TTU Engineering students to visit its ultra-modern Component Rebuild Centre at Ewusiejoe for a further practical feel of what they are learning.