Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has launched of the Toyota Manufacturing Academy (TMA) at the Coastal KZN TVET College in Mobeni, Durban.
Officially opened by Minister Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande, TMA forms part of the Automotive Training and Re-Skilling in the Post-COVID Economic Recovery for Vulnerable Youth and Women in South Africa project. Coastal KZN TVET College, as well as Tshwane South College (Pretoria) and Northlink College (Cape Town) are three beneficiaries of the programme.
“I have always advocated for an increased partnership between our TVET Colleges and the industry as we continuously enhance our curriculum to respond to the needs of the industry,” said Nzimande.
The launch of the TMA was preceded by the signing of a memorandum of understanding between UNDP South Africa and DHET – supported by the Government of Japan in July 2021.
The parties agreed to set up a project that would up-skill youth and women for skills relevant to the automotive industry, supported by the Government of Japan.
“Youth development is key to addressing address the triple development challenges of poverty, inequality, and unemployment.
“Honing their skills and unlocking their untapped talent not only promote inclusive and sustainable economic development but also have a transformational impact on society.
“We are very proud of many achievements in youth development the project has made in such a short period through the multi-stakeholder partnerships,” confirmed Dr Dr Ayodele Odusola: Resident Representative for the UNDP in South Africa.
The project dates back to March 2021, and since then a series of interventions have been delivered to strengthen the capacity of TVET colleges to align with the post-COVID-19 economy and labour market needs, including the provision of learning equipment.
This support has benefited the Coastal KZN College automotive training through a provision of mechanical, electronics, electrical workshop and ICT equipment.
TSAM established the TMA to broaden and strengthen its training capacity and work towards further empowering youth to become future leaders in a reindustrialized South Africa. UNDP and GoJ provided the workshop equipment for TMA supporting 24 young people through the academy.
According to TSAM’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Services Group, Suben Moodley the automotive sector is facing what Toyota Motor Corporation President, Akio Toyoda described as a “once in century period of disruption”.
This refers to transformation by a wide range of new technologies, and non-technological aspects such as social, economic, and environmental factors are part of our future landscape.
“Traditional markets are being redefined as new types of vehicles are introduced, ranging from hybrid to plug-in hybrid, battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles, with a wide range of driver assistance systems, which require digitisation and smart factory systems with the skills set to go along with them.
“Equally important, soft skills such as resilience, flexibility, problem solving, and creativity will be highly valued. This aspect should not be underestimated and needs to be included into educational training programs. So, the challenge is not just technical skills but a combination of soft and technical skills,” concluded Moodley.