Ford boost for SA engineering skills

2 February 2011

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) has opened a world-class production simulator facility at the company’s assembly plant outside Pretoria that will be used to train both its own employees as well as engineering students from various institutions.

The facility, which is attached to the motor company’s assembly plant in Silverton, is expected to provide practical training for mechanical and industrial engineering students from institutions such as the Tshwane University of Technology.

“We’re excited about the opportunities this training facility will afford students in the engineering field,” FMCSA chief executive Jeff Nemeth said in Pretoria this week. “We see this facility as an enabler to grow and develop more engineering candidates, not only for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, but for the industry as a whole.”

World-class facility

The facility, which was officially opened on Tuesday, follows the announcement that the company would invest R3.4-billion to produce its all-new Ford Ranger pick-up truck in South Africa.

This world-class production simulator facility is focused on improving the assembly process capabilities of current and future FMCSA employees, in preparation for the production of the Ranger.

The facility will enable FMCSA to train employees through simulating production processes off the line long before they start building the new vehicle.

“While the facility will allow us to develop the assembly sequence and processes for our new product without disrupting the production of current models, it will allow us to improve the skills of our employees dramatically, enabling them to build world-class vehicles, with best in class quality, and compete with the best in the world,” said Nemeth.

Commitment to auto industry

Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Qedani Dorothy Mahlangu said the provincial government was committed to growth in the automotive industry and had included the sector in its industrial policies and future strategies.

She said an amount of R32-million had been allocated for training and development programmes at the assembly plant, giving a much-needed boost to skills development in the sector.

Source: BuaNews