Confidence in the South African auto industry remains high with ongoing major investment projects in both plant and people – despite the concerns some have raised about ‘alternative’ facilities being opened in other African countries.
BMW Group South Africa has put its best foot forward with the opening of its news R73-million Plant Rosslyn Training Academy able to host 300 apprentices a year.
In 1978, exactly 40 years ago, BMW Group South Africa opened its first training centre at BMW Plant Rosslyn. Development and empowerment of workers for the automotive and manufacturing sectors has been a focus ever since. Even in this pre-democracy era, the company was ahead of the times in training learners irrespective of their ethnic background.
Since then 2 000 people have been employed by BMW Plant Rosslyn, after successfully being trained at the Training Academy.
Tim Abbott, CEO BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, says: “Global automotive production stands on the brink of momentous change with an increased focus on digitalisation and electrification. The workforce of tomorrow needs to keep pace with these trends. At BMW Group South Africa we are investing in the skills of the future.”
The facility focuses on both theoretical knowledge and practical application. Modern manufacturing skills such as robot programming, Advanced Computer Numerical Control (CNC) simulation and training on electric vehicles have been included in the new Academy.
An accredited Trade Test Centre has been incorporated into the building, allowing learners to achieve their trade qualification in-house. This functionality will also be extended to the public in the course of 2018.
Minister, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize (Department of Higher Education and Training) adds: “In June 2017, Cabinet approved the Human Resource Development Strategy towards 2030. One of the strategy programs talks to the skills that are produced based on the partnerships that can be encouraged within the country. The country can only achieve this if companies such as BMW continue to encourage Work integrated Learning. Students from the TVET colleges will benefit immensely with such partnerships.”
The Training Academy will continue to provide skills development for existing BMW Group South Africa employees and managers. This includes training on the advanced technologies that will be used in the production of the new BMW X3, which will kick off within a couple of months.
In addition, the following programmes will be offered for external applicants:
- Fitter and turner
- Motor mechanic
- Spray painter
- Panel beater