Trident Engineering Institute launched in SA to train students in BIM

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a skill that is part of the future of digital transformation within the architecture, engineering, construction industry and facility management; a very viable career option and in great demand globally.

For the first time in January 2023, students in and outside South Africa will be able to study various qualifications within BIM at the Trident Engineering Institute. The launch of the Institute is on 26 April 2022 at the Institute’s office at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

Simply put, BIM is a process involving the creation and management of digital mock-ups that assists the design and building or construction process throughout its entire stages of development and maintenance.

The establishment of the Institute was made possible by the Nido Trust, a charitable Trust focusing on introducing industry specific programmes that are fully accredited by the local bodies and endorsed by professional bodies globally. The Trustees of the Trust are Henry Lukenge (Founder), Lungile Koti and Patrick Oketa. The Trustees are individuals who are all passionate about education and community empowerment.

“The Institute wants to make BIM qualifications accessible and affordable to the masses, targeting high school graduates, TVET graduates and professionals who wish to curve a new career path in BIM,” says Mashudu Madzhie, CEO (Interim) of the Institute.

He explains that only the high-end BIM workshops have been available locally, and most of them are accessible to those with many years of career in engineering or construction. “The Institute’s mission is to educate students on specific industry knowledge using innovative, technology-rich, interdisciplinary learning environments. The Institute will collaborate with industry partners to offer students real-world problem-solving, work experience, applied research, and business leadership opportunities to achieve this mission,” he says.

Headquartered at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, students anywhere in South Africa will be able to study BIM since the Institute is a distance education institution. In addition, students will have an option to enroll for tutorial programmes on a full-time or part-time basis via partnering colleges. The Institute has a student administration and learning management system that allows students to participate in class tutorials, book consultation sessions with BIM experts, submit projects; as well receive academic and non-academic support online.

With the entry requirement being a matric pass with English, the Institute will be providing rare prospects for those students interested in engineering and built environment who would otherwise not have afforded or qualified for university degrees within these fields.

The first BIM programmes by the Institute will focus on the application of BIM in construction management and facility management.

“The Institute’s qualifications will train students on the largely developing field of BIM and related concepts and technical know-how of the ever-changing software used in the construction and facility management areas,” says Nido Trust founder Henry Lukenge. Lukenge, originally from Uganda and now residing in Canada, is the CEO and president of Nexim Healthcare. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant training in the United Kingdom, where he was a partner in an accounting firm there before moving to Canada. Lukenge’s philanthropy work has seen him building schools for children in Uganda.

“At the end of the qualifications, students will be able to use modelling techniques, 3D modelling tools and Computer-Aided Design (CAD). Students will be able to carry out accurate calculations on construction and facility management projects, specifically when it comes to detailed measurement of materials and labour needed before and after a construction project,” Lukenge explains.

The Institute will offer a diploma in BIM in construction management and a diploma in facility management. Both diplomas will consist of 360 credits. In addition, the Institute will also provide 3 higher certificates in BIM in construction management and 3 higher certificates in facility management. The higher certificates will consist of 120 credits.

These programmes will be recognised locally with SAQA & CHE accreditations, and international professional bodies such as the British Standards Institution (BSI) are onboard exploring partnership possibilities. “The partnership will mean that our students will graduate with a locally accredited programme and access to the BSI professional membership via our partnership and programme endorsement with the BSI group, which sets local and global standards in BIM and related fields,” says Lukenge.

Madzhie says that the issue of affordability is paramount to what the Institute wants to achieve. Because of this commitment, the Board of Directors of the Institute and the Trustees of Nido Trust have agreed to offer the Henry Lukenge Fellowship and Nido Trust Bursaries to deserving students. Nido Trust owns the Institute, which will help the Trustees achieve this charitable intention. Both scholarships from the Henry Lukenge Fellowship and Nido Trust Bursaries will be available from 2023. Madzhie invites public and private companies to open the bursaries schemes to BIM students via Nido Trust or within their existing schemes.

Fees for paying students will include a R150 non-refundable application fee, R2 200 registration fee and between R1 800 per course and R2 000 per Industry Attachment course or Practicum.

Furthermore, the Institute has added access to a professional communication subject for students who may gain admission on special conditions, such as those who have failed English but did well in other matric subjects.

The capacity of the Institute, including its technology and teaching experts, can take up to 10 000 students.