Automotive industry’s role in communities

Automotive industrys role in communities

Learners visit tyre plant in Ladysmith

In celebration of Youth Month, 60 Grade 9 learners from Colenso Combined School were led on a fascinating journey into the world of tyre manufacturing at Sumitomo Rubber South Africa’s (SRSA) Dunlop Tyres plant in Ladysmith.

SRSA’s Factory Tour Programme enables schools from the Ladysmith and surrounding areas to explore the tyre plant, which opened in 1973. It boasts over 1 200 employees who work to produce more than 2.2 million tyre units a year. So far, more than 350 Grade 9 and 10 learners have visited the plant this year with another 430+ learners who will tour the plant in the second half of the year.

SRSA showcased some of the exciting career opportunities it offers, including Technical and Engineering, Production, Procurement and Logistics, Human Resources and Finance, alongside graduate and in-service trainee programmes, apprenticeships and learnerships. The aim is to bridge the gap between education and industry.

"Exposing young minds to the inner workings of a complex industry like ours is a privilege," says Yojiro Miki, Acting Director: Production at SRSA. "Our factory is one of the largest employers in the Ladysmith community. Approximately 87% of our Ladysmith plant employees are from the Alfred Duma Local Municipality and 90% within uThukela District Municipality, so we know that a number of these young people could potentially end up being employed within this exciting environment.”

Some of the learners at the tyre factory.

Isuzu assist learners with school materials

Through a partnership with Rally to Read, ISUZU invested over R1 million to enhance literacy skills among primary school learners. This initiative is focused on fostering a passion for reading and providing foundational support for building a brighter future.

ISUZU has adopted St Albans Primary School, situated adjacent to the St Albans informal settlement in Gqeberha. To ensure clean water supply, an industrial borehole and water harvesting tanks were installed. ISUZU also announced a R1.2 million investment to improve the school’s infrastructure, creating a conducive learning environment.

“ISUZU is dedicated to making a lasting impact on education and youth development. By investing in today's youth, we are investing in the future. ISUZU is committed to driving education and providing resources and opportunities for young people to thrive,” says Celestin Ndhlovu, ISUZU Motors South Africa’s Vice President for Planning, Marketing and Corporate Affairs.

“We believe in the transformative power of education, especially in supporting initiatives that support Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning, promoting literacy. As we prepare for the future, we need to ensure that our youth are well-equipped to navigate and excel in an ever-evolving world,” Celestin continued.

Learners and Isuzu staff at the school.

Ford celebrates 100 years with numerous school projects

Reaching a 100th anniversary is a major milestone for any company, but how does the organisation not just remain relevant and in tune with the current times, but also adequately prepares for the future?

In the case of Ford South Africa, it’s through an unwavering commitment to sustainability by continuing to invest in its local operations, rapidly adapting and innovating, reducing its impact on the environment, developing its people and, crucially, uplifting and empowering communities.

Creating new talent for the future is built on a wide range of MerSETA-accredited learnership, apprenticeship and experiential training projects at both plants. These projects have provided thousands of young men and women with a fully accredited educational foundation in high-demand fields such as electronics, mechatronics, engineering and vehicle maintenance and repair. This enables them to enter the job market with a valuable qualification – either at Ford or within the broader job market.

Ford South Africa and Ford Philanthropy (formerly the Ford Fund) are funding the creation of 100 Maths and Science Labs for primary schools in disadvantaged areas around the country. This project is being implemented by Gift of the Givers Foundation, with logistics company Maersk donating 100 shipping containers that are being refurbished into fully equipped laboratories to promote the STEM subjects, comprising science, technology, engineering and maths.

In partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Ford SA is funding the establishment of 100 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres in disadvantaged areas across South Africa. Additionally, Ford Philanthropy is awarding 100 scholarships to motivated young South Africans from under-resourced and under-represented communities interested in STEM-related careers.

These Centenary legacy projects are in addition to Ford’s ongoing CSR initiatives that support the READ Educational Trust’s Rally to Read, Science2Go which operates a mobile science laboratory and resource centre to promote interest in the various scientific fields amongst school learners, to mention but a few.

One of the various projects with learners.

School represents milestone for BMW

BMW Group South Africa held its third annual Youth Day event at the recently transformed Lethabong Maths, Science & ICT School of Specialisation with a focus on the automotive world in Soshanguve, Tshwane.

The celebration, which honoured Youth Month, hosted matriculants of Lethabong School of Specialisation and Soshanguve Automotive School of Specialisation – both of which share a partnership with the automotive brand, whose manufacturing plant is located nearby in Rosslyn.

Mbasa Kepe, Manager of Government and External Affairs at BMW Group South Africa, commented: “Now a School of Specialisation, Lethabong marks a significant milestone in the journey of regional education towards providing varied and tailored learning opportunities to students. At BMW Group South Africa, we are especially proud of the developmental strides made in this partnership.”

In continued empowerment, BMW Group South Africa partnered with Lethabong School of Specialisation for its transformative project with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “BRIDGE. Educating young people for tomorrow, today” is a global partnership between BMW Group and UNICEF. In South Africa, it is set to redefine the landscape of education and skill-building for youth.

Since the inception of the programme last year, 570 educators from six provinces have been trained in coding and robotics, and 90 subject specialists from all provinces have been trained to support the educators at school level.

Learners in action at the event.

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