15 August 2012
Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s (MBSA) manufacturing plant in East London in the Eastern Cape province is training 800 technicians in a skills development programme ahead of the start of production of its next generation C-Class vehicles in 2014.
It was announced in December 2010 that the East London plant had been selected as one of only four Daimler AG plants worldwide to manufacture the C-Class.
“The skills training and recruitment drive is an important part of the company’s complex planning project, as preparations to ready the manufacturing facility for the introduction of the new C-Class intensify,” Mercedes-Benz South Africa said in a recent statement.
These preparations form part of a R2.5-billion investment, which includes construction of a new bodyshop and the introduction of a variety of new technologies.
The investment will allow the company to deepen the economic contribution of the production facility to the both the province and the rest of the country, as well as improving the sustainability of the local community.
“Creating a skills pipeline to cater for the ongoing increase in technical complexity is essential to our long term sustainability,” said vice-president for manufacturing at MBSA, Arno van der Merwe.
Before being admitted into the training programme, applicants were required to complete a multi-phase assessment process.
Successful applicants are being trained in automotive theory and practical, production-specific content at a specialised training centre established specifically for that purpose by Mercedes-Benz SA.
After the training, approximately 600 trainees will be recruited as additional production operators.
“The main objective is to give trainees a better understanding of our industry and equip them with the necessary skills to take up positions in the plant and start building platinum quality cars from day one,” said vice-president for human resources, Johann Evertse.