The competition, sponsored by Isuzu was aimed at final-year mechanical, electrical, industrial and mechatronic engineering students, who were required to submit a one-page abstract of their final-year project to be eligible.
A sifting process narrowed the contestants down to three finalists, who faced two days of in-depth interviews, challenges and meetings with GM's senior executives this week. The three then submitted their projects to the panel of judges, who declared Garces de Gois (Stellenbosch University) the winner ahead of Conrad de Kock (University of Pretoria) and George Krapohl (Central University of Technology, Free State) based on his project's innovation, technical excellence and relevance to the automotive or production sector.
The project, titled 'The Design and Development of a Diesel Engine In-cylinder Pressure Measurement System', will be featured in an upcoming issue of the magazine.Opportunities in SA are limited
The magazine's technical editor, Nicole Louw, said the team was very happy with the response to the competition and the calibre of entries. "It's difficult for engineering students to break into the automotive engineering field - opportunities in South Africa are limited. We have long wanted to get involved at university level to encourage prospective automotive engineers and to give them a platform to launch their career. The Challenge allowed us to do just that."
Edgar Lourencon, head of GM Sub-Saharan Africa, said the company was proud to collaborate with the innovative initiative. "We regard our investment in education as critical in terms of helping to improve the skills base of the country and promoting education as the most important tool for uplifting the community. During the past 10 years alone, the company has invested over R110 million in bursary and scholarship programmes and has also partnered with universities to support key skills projects."
He added that it was a great time for Garces de Gois to start his career at the company, as the launch of the much-anticipated sixth-generation Isuzu KB is only two months away.