All the National Diplomas are offered in a co-operative manner. A co-operative education programme is one in which academic study for entry into a profession is usually combined with an experiential period of learning in industry in such a way that they supplement each other.

The experiential period involves the solution of real problems, giving practical experience of the application and usefulness of knowledge gained at the Nelson Mandela University. Project work is submitted for academic assessment during the experiential period. Professionals of any discipline need appropriate work experience before they can practise their chosen career effectively.

Experience shows that the integration of theory and inservice/experiential learning creates diplomats who are more mature and hence readily employable. Work experience encourages students to develop a greater sense of responsibility, place more reliance on their judgement, and find greater meaning in their studies.

Students become involved with people from different spheres of life and develop a greater confidence when working as part of a team.

To fulfill the requirements of the National Diploma a student must complete at least one semester of applicable Experiential Learning. Guides outlining the requirements for successful completion of experiential learning are obtainable from the Experiential Training Administrator of the Faculty. In each module the student is given projects and/or assignments which must be completed and submitted for evaluation.

It is imperative for students to register for the experiential learning component. This can be done at the beginning of the term or prior to leaving the campus at the end of the preceding term. Special registration forms for this purpose are obtainable from the Experiential Training Administrator of the Faculty.

Although the Nelson Mandela University will help as far as possible to arrange the practical learning, in the final instance the onus in this respect will be on the student. Many firms sponsor students and in these cases the experiential learning is naturally arranged by the sponsoring firm. Experiential Learning or Co-operative Education is a program that formally integrates a student’s academic studies with work experience in participating employer organisations. It is a compulsory component of the National Diploma and has to be controlled and managed accordingly.

The experiential learning (part 1 and part 2) module, namely, Engineering Practice I, is roughly 24 weeks in duration or a minimum of 800 notional hours. The learning differs in that level 1 focuses on developing hand skills by participating in physical work while level 2 requires a much higher level of synthesis, responsibility and accountability as would be expected of an engineering technician. This, again, would be done under supervision of a mentor, but facilitating some independent work by the student.


The Department of Co-operative Education and Graduate Placement assists with student placements and provides the following services to students and potential employers or training institutions:

  • Job adverts.
  • Facilitating Interviews.
  • Assisting with contracts.

The Head of Department (HOD) is responsible for the guidelines for experiential learning, monitoring, assessment and accrediting the training.

It is the student’s responsibility to present and discuss the guidelines in the Logbook with the mentor or applicable company representative prior to engaging in any learning to ensure that the scope of learning proposed by the employer/training institute meets the guidelines in the Logbook.

The HOD or Experiential Training Administrator may be consulted for any clarifications needed.

Students must register for experiential learning on commencing their training using the document in appendix A in the Logbook. It may be posted or faxed to the experiential training administrator.

The student must submit a complete logbook with applicable reports and assessments for each completed experiential learning program, on or before the commencement of the next academic semester.

Experiential learning not registered, will not be recognised for the Diploma.

Students that have completed an apprenticeship or formal learnership/s may apply for recognition towards experiential learning units. Please contact the HOD for further information.

Please note that the following rules apply:

  • Students must register with the Faculty before commencing with experiential learning.
  • Logbook, available on registration, must be filled in properly during the learning period.
  • Learning objectives mentioned in the logbooks must be met.
  • Logbooks must be handed in directly after completion (before 15 August/17 January).
  • Learners can at any time apply for the recognitions of experience gained prior to the first enrolment for the qualification at this Institution.
Contact information
Mrs Nicole Truter
Tel: +27 41 504 3645

Mrs Zandra Joubert
Administrative Professional
Tel: (+27)41 504 3967