Automaker’s engine donation boost for technical schools
09 September 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202020443
FORD Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) has announced plans to donate 240 engines valued at R7.8 million to support skills development and training at technical high schools across South Africa.
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.
“We have partnered with the Department of Basic Education to supply these engines to technical high schools across the country, with the aim of promoting technical skills development and training in the automotive sphere,” said Managing Director Neale Hill.
“This will give learners the opportunity to understand and appreciate the inner workings of modern engines and will help ignite greater interest in the field of automotive manufacturing and technology. We trust it will also lead to an even greater focus on the diverse range of engineering disciplines to address the shortage of these essential skills in South Africa,” Hill said.
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga welcomed the donation, saying, “As Government, our capacity is constrained due to the prevailing low economic growth and falling tax revenues. Like never before, we need partners to augment not just the technical aspect of our work, but also to become part of the thinking pack. We need new ideas.”
She added that the partnership between the department and Ford would play a pivotal role in boosting efforts to stimulate the local economy and address the technical skills shortage the country is facing.
“The engines we are receiving today will power the future, and unleash our learners’ new potential in ways unimaginable before. I am glad that Ford has joined our efforts to take us forward, and I am certain that this initiative will contribute in growing our learners’ skills at the school level and beyond.”
The introduction of the new diesel engine programme followed an investment of R3 billion in Ford’s South African operations at the Struandale Engine Plant and the Silverton Assembly Plant, announced in 2017. A new assembly hall was built for the new engine programme, which has an installed capacity to produce up to 120 000 engines per year.
“Our new assembly line incorporates Ford’s latest, state-of-the-art manufacturing processes that guarantee the highest standards of workmanship, product quality and performance,” says Shawn Govender, Plant manager of the Ford Struandale Engine Plant. “The advanced sub-assembly line for the cylinder head features four automated robotic stations that ensure maximum precision in the fitment of parts.”
“In recognition of our status as one of the Eastern Cape’s leading exporters, we recently earned two Exporter of the Year awards from Exporters Eastern Cape,” Govender said. “We received the Best Exporter OEM award for the fourth time and, crucially, won the IDC Job Creation Award for the second consecutive year, reaffirming our commitment to employment and skills development.”
As with the Silverton plant, the Port Elizabeth facility has numerous learnership, apprenticeship and experiential programmes in place. The Learnership Programme in conjunction with merSETA began in 2012 with 15 learners and expanded to 104 learners by the end of 2018.
The learnership covers National Certificate qualifications in Mechatronics, Automotive Manufacturing and Assembly, along with Millright apprentices, and experiential learners in the fields of Mechanical, Electrical and Administration. Many of these leaners have subsequently been employed at Ford.
“We also have great relationships with our local high schools, TVET colleges and the Nelson Mandela University, with learners given the opportunity to visit the plant and gain valuable insight into the manufacturing process, and the job opportunities the automotive industry presents.
“The entire Ford Struandale Engine Plant team is delighted and excited to share our world-class engines and technologies with learners around the country, hopefully fuelling their interest in the automotive industry for the future,” Govender said.