Production training and recruitment drive at Mercedes-Benz SA plant to spark job creation excitement in Eastern Cape
- 800 successful applicants to participate in production training programme
- MBSA contribution to Eastern Cape economy intensifies
Revered as one of the best quality producers in the automotive world, the Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) manufacturing plant in East London embarked on an intensive training and recruitment drive in preparation for production of the next generation C-Class (called W205) in 2014.
The programme will see approximately 800 successful applicants undergo training and skills development, with the aim of securing a position as a production employee at the MBSA manufacturing plant. The opportunity was advertised in local East London newspapers on 18 and 23 July 2012. In addition, the company has entered into a partnership with the Department of labour to select candidates from their database of job seekers.
The South African automotive landscape can offer no better training ground than the MBSA plant, which this year won its fourth consecutive quality accolade from one of the most fastidious consumer nations in the world - the United States of America. The plant won a JD Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS) silver award in 2012, gold awards in 2011 and 2009, and platinum in 2010.
The announcement in 2010 that the East London plant had been selected as one of only four Daimler AG sites worldwide to build the W205 C-Class was met with an enthusiastic response by employees, the industry and the public sector. In addition to an investment in excess of R2.5-billion, the creation of both direct jobs in the plant as well as indirectly in the automotive supply sector, is on the cards.
The skills training and recruitment drive is an important part of the company's complex W205 planning project, as preparations to ready the manufacturing facility for the introduction of the new C-Class model intensify. Other major developments at the production facility include massive construction to build a new Bodyshop, which will also see the introduction of numerous new technologies.
Vice president for human resources at MBSA, Johann Evertse, believes that the investment provides the company an ideal opportunity to deepen the economic contribution of its production facility on the province and country, impacting on the sustainability of the local community and further enhancing the over 60-year long relationship with the Border Kei region.
Before admission into the programme, each applicant is required to successfully complete a multi-phased assessment process. MBSA has set up a specialised training centre, where each of the selected trainees will undergo two months of training in automotive theory, as well as practical, production-specific content. The training facility is equipped to accommodate 144 learners at a time.
Approximately 600 trainees, selected from those who meet the required standards after successfully completing the comprehensive course, will be recruited as additional production operators to the build the new C-Class model.
"The skills training programme is the most robust training initiative the company has undertaken since the mass recruitment drive for the W203 project, which took place in 1999," says Johann. "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."
MBSA has a long and established track record of promoting excellence in skills development. Its Technical Training Centre in East London has supplied artisans of the highest calibre to its high-tech production facility, but more importantly for the automotive industry. This service was extended in 2012 to include a Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (MerSETA) Trade Test Centre.