KU opens training center for professionals in high value-added metal products
The center aims to nurture professionals with creativity and talent for multidisciplinary research who will lead the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Proposing a future-oriented model in engineering education, the center is expected to create new jobs and open new doors for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
On June 19, 4 pm, Korea University hosted the opening ceremony of the High Value-Added Metal Product Professionals Training Center for the Metropolitan Area (Director: Joonho Lee) at Hana Square, Korea University.
The center aims to nurture professionals in material sciences, the technologies of which are needed to take metal industries to the next level in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The project of training professionals in high value-added metal products is hosted by the Korea Iron and Steel Association and participated in by a total of 6 universities. The training centers designated as the base centers for the metropolitan area are located in 4 universities, Korea University, Seoul National University, Yonsei University and Hanyang University.
Upon opening, the center embarked on its journey focusing on training professionals with creativity and talent for multidisciplinary research. Supported by several enterprises, the center will build a new sustainable educational platform and establish a certification system for metal materials solutions, big data analaysis and the convergence of ICT-based knowledge.
As its educational approach, the center will adopt a generations-to-generations educational method which harnesses the expertise of veterans and retirees in related industries. In order to pass down the technologies and the associated knowhow to following generations, the center will invite professors who have already retired or those who have accumulated a teaching career of more than 10 years supporting cooperation between business and academia. With such experts from the field, the center will be able to provide training courses that are practical in nature. Furthermore, combining the professional knowledge of older generations with the ICT capabilities of younger generations may create synergy effects from which unexpected benefits are derived through convergence.
Training professionals in the field of metal products and materials can also contribute to the creation of highly-valued jobs. A project-based thesis writing program, one of the programs that the center offers, is expected to advance the professionalism of trainees and address the shortage of professional manpower in the industry. To increase the chances of trainees being hired, the center will open courses related to key and newly developed industries. By hosting various events, such as presentations on business-academia joint projects, the center will offer trainees opportunities to meet industry mentors and show how their research and skills have developed.
This will cause talented students to be hired naturally prior to their graduation.
The opening of the center is also good news for small- and medium-sized companies. The center will run short-term problem-solving projects that are designed to be field-centered and customized for SMEs. Doing so is expected to provide technical support to SMEs and eventually achieve balance in the industrial ecosystem. The center is determined to foster intellectuals who can work in the field immediately following graduation and who can meet the future demands of the industries.
KU President Jaeho Yeom said in his greeting, “The opening ceremony today will be the first step we take in nurturing future intellectuals who can contribute to the development of humanity. They will solve numerous problems in the steel industry, such as the development of high-strength, lightweight steel sheets for future electric vehicles and the development of process technology for iron reduction by hydrogen.” He added, “I am pleased that, under the slogan ‘Research through Education, Education through Research,’ our university can suggest a future-oriented engineering education model that involves many universities and companies. I hope the center will become an educational foundation for the iron and steel industry in Korea and help the Korean manufacturing industry to leap forward in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This is the first step in contributing to national development.”
Trade, Industry and Energy Vice Minister, Inho Lee, delivered words of encouragement at the ceremony. “The iron and steel industry, currently struggling from difficulties such as sudden changes in the global trade environment, should be equipped with a competitiveness that is continuously upgraded by constant innovation.” He continued, “I hope the center will become a turning point enabling the industry to make a new leap forward through collaboration with universities and training key professionals who are much needed for the development of the industry.”
Professor Joonho Lee from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the College of Engineering, Korea University, had taken a leading role in inviting the center to the university and has been recently appointed as the first director of the center. During the opening ceremony, he said, “The iron and steel industries of Korea are now facing an unprecedented crisis caused by a trade war between the United States and China based on protectionism. We are in desperate need of skilled professionals with creativity and talent for multidisciplinary research to overcome the crisis.” He added, “Those who learn at and graduate from the center will take the leading part in the development of high value-added metal materials and the development of smart steelworks technology, thereby securing national competitiveness in the iron and metal industries.”
It is expected that, by supporting research into high value-added metal materials and training professionals, the center will contribute to the strengthening of the iron and metal industries of Korea as well as the creation of quality jobs.