More than a manufacturer – Porsche Training and recruitment centre opens in Cape Town.
For car brands operating in South Africa, selling vehicles is of course a priority. After the sale is done however, there needs to be a system in place to ensure that the customer will have the correct after sales support. Service and maintenance is key to retain a customer, as any brand will want to create long lasting relationships with clients. South Africa is a country with an immensely active automotive industry. With thousands of vehicles being bought monthly, all these cars need to be maintained. This is where a potential challenge lies. The youth are the future and the automotive sector is not an area many young people are investing their time in. Specifically amongst the service department. Schools strongly encourage young ones to embrace softer skills, with manual labour being sidelined. This creates a conundrum as physical skills are and will be of great need to various industries for decades to come. Plumbers, mechanics and builders are an essential part of the workforce, without them many industries would fail. The high rate of unemployment is another issue being faced in South Africa, with many members of the youth battling to obtain employment. So it was with a warm heart then, that I listened to the team at Porsche South Africa and Don Bosco Salesian Insitute Youth Projects tell us about the initiative they had started in South Africa.
Cape Town is the starting point for the Porsche Training and Recruitment Centre – a programme designed to give disadvantaged youth a chance at succeeding in life. The aim in simple, over three years 75 men and women will be trained as service mechatronic engineers. This training does not limit the students to work for Porsche exclusively, but will allow them to use their skills within the entire Volkswagen Group. The first selection of the candidates has taken place, giving a fantastic opportunity to 24 young men and women to begin training. The facilities offered are world class, providing two seminar rooms and a workshop with vehicles to be used by the trainees.
The stories behind the programme:
An initiative like this sounds is great to hear about, but actually seeing the young people’s appreciation for this is what melts the heart. Coming from various cultures, a unified spirit of determination is seen in all the candidates. The young men and women are not only happy to represent themselves, but they are happiest to be representing their families and communities. It’s as much of an achievement for those around them, than it is for themselves, because their story has the potential to represent hope for those following them. Hard work will be required to succeed and there is no mollycoddling of the candidates as was clearly shown by Uwe Huck. Huck, who is the Chair of the Porsche Group Works Council is a man who sees himself in each of the candidates chosen. Coming from a difficult background, he knows the importance of hard work, perseverance and of course, education.
Uwe had the following to say about this programme – “Education is something that concerns us all and must not be a privilege. Nobody is too stupid to get an education, but you have to put in the hard work. We have to take on those who – for whatever reason – appear to stand no chance. They do: It is our task to unlock the potential hidden inside every person, regardless of ethnic origin, religion or the colour of their skin. Porsche has always fostered a social corporate culture and it is important and part of our duty to lead by example and show the way rather than to turn a blind eye.” Clearly then a man so passionate about the community is the right person to lead these young people to success.
The South African automotive sector needs more programmes like these as this will ensure that “fresh blood” enters into the car game. As new technology is constantly introduced in cars, young people are the best individuals to be trained to work with these cars, as the millennial generation grasp new technology very easily. Porsche South Africa and the Volkswagen Group are to be commended for not only giving back, but also ensuring brand sustainability. By investing in disadvantaged youth, this programme and others like these, help give those that wouldn’t have a chance to make a difference for themselves and their community. It also ensures that skilled individuals will be around for longer, making a vital industry in our economy thrive. Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are welcome to apply for the courses – this is extended to those who possess vocational training already and those who are in need of basic skills. The overall programme ethos is one of providing hope and skills development, something needed by many young ones in South Africa.