Gauteng, Ford in skills partnership

first_img30 June 2010The Gauteng provincial government and Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa have jointly established a world-class Supplier Incubation Facility outside Pretoria as part of a R100-million investment in skills development in South Africa’s vehicle manufacturing industry.The public-private partnership between Gauteng and Ford serves as a blueprint for future projects, and the provincial government says it will continue to promote such partnerships in the manufacturing sector.Primary growth sectorBlue IQ, the provincial agency responsible for flagship projects such as the Gautrain, Newtown and the Nelson Mandela Bridge, facilitated the new training facility at Ford’s assembly site in Silverton.Blue IQ chief executive Amanda Nair says the agency considers the automotive industry as a primary growth sector in the future of Gauteng.The Supplier Icubation Facility will be attached to the Ford Motor Company’s production facility following its recent R3-billion investment to produce the T6 next-generation compact pick-up truck.An economic impact report recently concluded that Ford’s T6 Model will contribute R79-billion to the Gauteng economy over the next 15 years and create around 700 000 direct and indirect employment opportunities.Skills development and trainingThe Gauteng Government has committed R50-million for the construction of the facility and an additional R15-million for start-up costs for black economic empowerment (BEE) companies. A further R32-million is allocated for training and development programmes at the assembly plant.More than 400 people will be trained during 2010 and a further 50 people will benefit through the incubator programme. A four-year training and development plan is in place to develop skills and ensure the growth of a globally competitive workforce.Government investmentThe Gauteng provincial government has demonstrated its commitment to growth in the automotive industry by including this sector in its industrial policies and future strategies.It has provided the land adjacent to the Ford facility upon which a 7 200 square metre factory will be constructed. At least four new black businesses will be established at this factory to perform value-add sub-assembly work to main suppliers on the vehicle production line.“Our objective is that these [BEE] companies will acquire the skills and experience to eventually become full-fledged suppliers to the South African automotive sector,” said Nair.Supporting economic growth, jobsHuge setup and investment costs have, in the past, limited opportunities for smaller enterprises to participate in the industry, and the new initiative will assist prospective suppliers to overcome these hurdles.A governance board will be established between Ford, its major suppliers and government to evaluate applications, award opportunities to participate and monitor their performance.Blue IQ and its subsidiaries in the automotive sector will provide business training and mentoring while Ford and its suppliers will be responsible for the technical training, quality control and the monitoring of safety standards.At the conclusion of an initial 10-year period, the Supplier Incubation Facility will either be transferred to Ford or continue in its existing form, depending on the requirements of the company at that time.Nair said the project confirmed the value of Blue IQ as a facilitator of strategic infrastructure that supports economic growth and job creation.“The [public-private partnership] model we have put in place is working well. We are delighted that Ford has continued to expand their manufacturing commitments in the province of Gauteng.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img

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