The inclusion of Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape (AIDC EC) graduates in a practical training programme by Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has been applauded as a major boost to job creation.
Six AIDC EC graduates have been involved in on-the-job training at the VWSA Uitenhage plant since January.
The AIDC EC, which last year partnered with the government’s R9 billion Jobs Fund to ensure that the region’s automotive sector is a major beneficiary of its training, released graduates into various training programmes earlier this year.
Upon completion of their training in June, some of the graduates could be employed permanently at VWSA, provided there are vacancies within their various fields.
Lance Schultz, AIDC EC Supplier Development Manager, praised VWSA’s commitment to job creation by providing training for the graduates.
“The AIDC EC believes that the VWSA commitment will act as a catalyst for other large manufacturers to employ these recruits,” said Schultz. “The recruitment of these engineers by VWSA, which employs only the best available skills to fulfil orders for both local and international markets, is a high-level endorsement of this Jobs Fund Programme and very significant.”
The training programme aims to effectively equip unemployed engineers with global best practice skills and techniques to add value to any manufacturing environment, he said.
“Moreover, it underlines VWSA’s key role in creating employment growth in the region,” said Schultz.
The placed graduates have described the opportunity to work at VWSA as career-changing.
“Being placed at Volkswagen helps me to implement all the tools and skills that I learnt at the AIDC,” said AIDC EC graduate Solomon Qwesha, who is working as a trainee project engineer within the Uitenhage plant’s Logistics Planning department.
“It has been a great opportunity as I have worked together with high level management on various projects. The training helps me to improve my communication skills by chairing projects and site meetings as well taking part in presentations.”
Pumlani Manyaka, an AIDC EC graduate training within the plant’s Industrial Engineering department, said the hands-on training enabled him to follow his dream.
“It has always been a dream to work for this great company and AIDC has enabled me to make my dream a reality,” said Manyaka. “This placement at VWSA has provided me with a solid foundation in the Industrial Engineering field and the opportunity to see how things are done in the real world.”
Schultz said the new the partnership with VWSA was rewarding.
“It is deeply rewarding to see the partnership between government and industry working so well in the context of the Jobs Fund. The objective of creating permanent employment opportunities would be hamstrung if industry did not buy in, like VWSA has.”
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