Friday the 24th of November 2023 marked the onboarding of a virtual team of over 15 Multimedia and Software Developers from the ICT Department who are teaming up with Designers from the Industrial Design Department of TUT. This work-readiness program is preparing the soon-to-be graduate Designers and Developers for careers in game development. The program is supervised by the XR Team led by Xolani Skosana who works with 6 highly skilled team members full-time on the product dubbed Metanous: The metaverse for gamified exchange of knowledge and skills pertaining to engineering and science. Over 20 people are working on this groundbreaking product to solve the challenge of insufficient equipment for hands-on training in TVET Colleges, Technical High Schools, and other training entities.

The team has exactly 15 weeks beginning on the 27th of November 2023 through the festive season until the 22nd of March 2024 to build vast Virtual-Reality (VR) based engineering modules. These modules include one for automotive maintenance which is about health and safety during mechanic work, using basic hand tools, replacing a tire and oil, using a hydraulic car lift, and much more. The second is about solar installation, maintenance, and electrical wiring in support of a just-energy transition. The public will get to experience the final product at the #MetanousWebinar on 29-30 March 2024 where there will be industry experts discussing and demonstrating their daily work challenges and best practices for career awareness and development. Attendees will also activate their one-year limited-edition Metanous license for learning via desktop/headsets.

This initiative has a dual outcome of first an innovative product that helps learning institutions overcome their training barriers caused by worn-out equipment, theft, high costs of industry visits/placements etc.  Secondly, competent designers and developers with experience in what it takes to build and publish a game for learning. These zealous interns will be publicly announced and celebrated after they successfully launch one complete module at which point, they will have proved their commitment to the initiative. This is a collaborative attempt to close the gap between industry and academia and aligns with the mandate of the Institute of the Future of Work (IFOW), a Co-host of the Metanous Webinar 2024.

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