Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) has launched a far-reaching engine donation programme to support skills development and training at technical high schools across the country.
As part of the programme, the vehicle manufacturer is donating 240 engines, valued at R7.8-million, as part of its reaffirmation of its commitment to empowering South Africa’s youth.
FMCSA has partnered with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to supply the engines to technical high schools across the country, with the aim of promoting technical skills development and training in the automotive sphere.
The engines are assembled at Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth, which currently operates two engine programmes: the new-generation 2.0 Bi-Turbo and 2.0 Single Turbo engine family, as well as the established 2.2 and 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi units.
These engines are produced for the domestic market and export customers around the world and are used in a variety of models including the Ford Ranger pickup, the Ranger Raptor high-performance off-road pickup, the Everest seven-seater sports utility vehicle (SUV) and the European-built Ford Transit.
“[The engines] will give learners the opportunity to understand and appreciate the inner workings of modern engines and will help to ignite a greater interest in the field of automotive manufacturing and technology,” FMCSA MD Neale Hill said during the virtual announcement on August 27.
FMCSA is hopeful that the donation will lead to “an even greater focus on the diverse range of engineering disciplines to address the shortage of these essential skills in South Africa”.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga officiated the event and said the partnership between the DBE and FMCSA would “play a pivotal role in boosting efforts to stimulate the local economy and to address the technical skills shortage the country is facing”.
Further, FMCSA has various learnership, apprenticeship and experiential trainee programmes in place to drive skills development across various fields.
Over the past five years, at its Silverton assembly plant specifically, FMCSA assisted 165 learners gain their National Qualifications Framework qualifications in automotive repairs and maintenance, along with 220 in autotronics, 765 in business administration, 34 in fitting and 187 in mechatronics.
Additionally, more than 1 800 learners attained their National Certificate in Automotive Manufacturing and Assembly.
Over 120 apprentices have completed their training as electricians, fitters, millwrights and motor mechanics, and almost 1 500 experiential trainees have completed programmes at FMCSA in administration and the range of engineering fields, including electrical, industrial, logistics, mechanical and mechatronics.
More than 660 of these learners have subsequently been employed at Ford, with the remainder entering the broader industry with highly marketable and high-demand qualifications and skills sets that give them a solid footing for embarking on a future career.
FMCSA also runs the Ford Resource and Engagement Centre, which provides skills development and training for community members from Mamelodi, near the Silverton plant.
The graduates are 90% female and receive training in a range of fields, including early childhood development, which helps them get jobs or start their own businesses.
In January, FMCSA also donated R1-million to the Student Sponsorship Programme Trust, which provides opportunities for high-achieving learners from underprivileged communities to attend some of the top public and private high schools in the country.