History & Milestones

History & Milestones


The African Academy for CAD Training was founded in 1994. Two patrons D W Macnamara and C L Yeatman sat down discussing industry, with its problems and realized that a shortage of well-trained Draughtspersons existed. But what could be done about it? They decided to start a centre to train Draughtspersons. Now the real work started! After a few months (with some help) they had computers, software and premises (sponsored by BATEMAN). Out they went again to find students. A pilot program of 12 weeks with 8 students kicked off in September 1994 which was so successful that they decided to go ahead with the Academy. They appointed 3 staff members, consisting of 1 Trainer, 1 Dean and an Administrative Assistant. These 3 staff members had their work cut out for them! Course material was developed, students recruited and a whole administration system developed to suit this unique Academy in South Africa.


In 1995 the course kicked off with 26 students with course material consisting of 3 subjects, namely: Computer Skills, Mechanical and Building Draughting. At the same time the Academy got curriculum accreditation from the Institute for Mechanical Engineers. Twenty students passed the course and within months, 19 were placed in industry, which is part of the Academy’s primary objectives.


In 1996 the Academy appointed an extra trainer to expand on the scope of training. The course material was changed to suit the N4/N5 Multi-disciplinary Drawing Office Practice material and twenty-seven students enrolled with the Academy. This year brought a few changes, in addition to the new curriculum, the Academy got accreditation from the Institute of Draughtsmen and the Department of Public Works pledged their support to the Academy. A new trainer was recruited from Johannesburg Technical College, equipping the Academy with two trainers (both with N6 qualifications and specialists in their own field). Twenty students passed the course and 18 were placed into industry within 6 months.


In 1997 the Academy grew even further, they appointed a full-time fundraiser and Sue did a very good job of canvassing sponsor support. The Academy, recognizing the strength of the staff, replaced the Dean with a Management team consisting of the Lecturers and an Administration Manager, lead by a Managing Trustee. The Academy was registered as a Private Technical College and now there was no way of stopping us. Twenty-seven students were enrolled and twenty-seven students passed, a first for the Academy! Twenty five students were placed into industry. Commercial Training over weekends was initiated to provide extra income for the Academy, and this training programme has proved very successful.


Another 27 students enrolled and all of them passed. Twenty four out of this group were successfully placed into industry. The Academy decided to add onto their commercial training by offering a Technical Drawing Bridging course for students who have Mathematics and Science but no Drawing background, and offered this 2-week course to those students. This expanded the recruitment area. The Academy thrived under the supervision of the Management team and the full-time fundraiser.


The Academy kicked off in 1999 with 39 students. All passed. Thirty six out of this group have been successfully placed into industry. The Japanese Embassy came on board and sponsored new computers for the Academy. This year the Academy appointed a Student Representative Council by democratic vote. They decided to give something back to the community and adopted Kids Haven in Benoni as their project. They kicked off their fundraising with a cross-dressing day, which turned out to be very successful. It was also decided to take on 10% paying students to provide extra income for the Academy, this venture turned out to be very successful with the Academy receiving more applications than they could accommodate.


With the demand from the student’s side, the Academy expanded and took on 60 students for the year. Special thanks to BATEMAN for sponsoring the bigger premises. For the first time the students could take the national examinations in some of the subjects, as previously it was not allowed to take these examinations on computer. The outcome was that the Academy has produced the top student nationwide in 2 subjects and the average pass rate was at least 35% higher than the national pass rate. Fifty two students were placed.


The Academy expanded by running night classes, for people in the working environment. It meant a lot of extra work for the staff. The end result was that 7 part-time students are graduating with the full-time students. The Advisory Council consisting of representatives from industry took on the task of writing unit standards for the Academy.


Due to the success of the previous year, the night classes expanded to 19 students. Once again the Academy did better on the national examinations than the rest of the country. Out of a group of 46 students, 42 were successfully placed into industry. The unit standards for the Multi-Disciplinary Drawing Office Practice course were developed by the Academy with the assistance of the Advisory Council comprised of industry representatives.


Out of 48 day class students, 47 secured employment, giving African Academy a 98% placement rate. Night classes expanded to 24 students who successfully completed the course. The Academy commenced with registration as a training provider with CETA. The academy had the biggest reunion for past students, altogether 220 past students attended.


Out of 60 day class students, 58 secured employment. This year we celebrated our 10 year anniversary. The night classes increased to 36 students. This was the academy’s biggest intakes trained.


Out of the 40 day class students 39 were successfully placed into industry. The night classes grew to 45 students in total.


The Academy decided to take on additional paying students in order to cross-subsidise the disadvantaged students. 129 students graduated in May 2007


The Academy moved to new premises to accommodate 252 students this year, with it’s 1006th student passing through the Academy since its inception.


The Academy has acquired a new wing which was made possible by a R1 million donation from Hatch, thereby increasing its capacity to accommodate in excess of 500 students.


Another international partnering – Bentley Systems have made available an international development specialist to assist African Academy with future course development.


Development and finalization of the new industry related Piping Draughting course.


Launch of Distance Learning / E-Learning.


Received funding in excess of R4m from Nation Skills Fund, Department of Higher Education. Submission for accreditation from Council of Higher Education.


City and Guilds has now accredited the African Academy and is now offering Mechanical Engineering through City and Guilds. African Academy is running a learnership for Denel.

The African Academy was established in 1994 to address the critical need for well-trained and skilled Draughtspersons, and to contribute towards reducing unemployment in South Africa. The African Academy is recognized as one of Africa’s leading Draughting Education & Training Institutions. The African Academy has proven its worth by achieving an above 80% pass rate and an above 80% placement of graduates in employment. Industry attests to the high calibre of graduate that the African Academy produces.

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