The Learning Factory

The pilot site of the Learning Factory (LF) was established in March 2021 at  the CSIR campus in Pretoria. This initiative, a partnership between the CSIR and the Sector Education and Training Authority for Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services (merSETA), is geared towards promoting skills development and innovation, applied to digital technologies underpinning the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). In addition to the LF at the CSIR, a target of 18 LFs are planned to be established at South African technical and vocational education and training (TVETs) institutes around the country. The first of these have already been contracted with the EastCape Midlands TVET College.

Main offerings

  • Skills development (training, upskilling, reskilling, cross-skilling) and innovation platform for the operation, implementation, research and design of key 4IR technologies;
  • Test-bed platform for de-risking of 4IR technologies applied to all stakeholders
  • Support of technology localisation using 4IR technologies;
  • Technology transfer to stakeholders, including small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), in support of re-industrialisation pertaining to 4IR technologies;
  • Support platform for LFs that will be established at TVETS in terms of technologies, curriculum, best practices, etc.; and
  • Platform to serve as a research enabler applied to innovation in 4IR applications – i.e. Applied research informed by stakeholder needs.


The pilot site includes demonstrations of the following:


  • Skills development of 4IR technologies as well as use of 4IR technologies to support skills development;
  • Theoretical training introducing candidates to generic 4IR applications from a South African perspective;
  • Practical training on 4IR technologies such as Robotics, the Internet of Things; cyber-security, simulation and additive manufacturing to name a few;
  • Application of theoretical and practical training to specific industry related areas such as a modular and flexible, configurable manufacturing cell, assembly station using collaborative robots, smart home and energy optimization cell;
  • Research Labs that support research and innovation activities in the 4IR space with respect to design, incubation, and prototyping; and
  • Experience Centres that support experiential learning by exposing students to working environments in which 4IR technologies have been employed.


Online training modules were developed and piloted in early 2022.  Training is currently free of charge and offered in different modalities whereby attendees can take advantage of full online training, virtual training, or hybrid training that is virtually linked to real physical equipment, as well as practical experiential training on the physical equipment that is located at the CSIR campus in Pretoria.

Interested parties in the manufacturing sector – including managers, technologists, engineers and trainers are invited to visit www.4irsa.co.za for more information

Training covers:

  • Artificial Intelligence;
  • Augmented Reality;
  • Robotics;
  • Additive Manufacturing;
  • The Internet of Things;
  • Big Data Analytics;
  • Cloud computing and Edge Processing;
  • System Integration;
  • Digital Twinning;
  • Simulation; and
  • Cyber Security


Contact Person

Shaniel Davrajh

Learning factory
Manufacturing learning center
csir learning factory