Nissan and the Gauteng Department of Economic Development re-affirmed their commitment to skills development within the South African automotive industry during a ground-breaking ceremony for a new training academy.
Gauteng Automotive Training Academy is a public/private partnership with the economic development department's Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) and will be the first government owned automotive training academy in the country.
Under the terms of the partnership, Nissan SA made land and buildings available for the facility and will also bear the cost of utilities such as water and electricity. On completion, scheduled for May 2013, the AIDC will become operational custodians of the institution, supported by the Automotive Supplier Park Company. The Training Academy will accommodate approximately 1 000 learners annually on a variety of training programmes, aimed at addressing both the current skills shortage as well as the broadening of the technical skills base.
Strong message to government
Speaking at Nissan's Rosslyn plant where the new academy is based, Nissan SA managing director Mike Whitfield said that the company was proud to be part of this milestone occasion. "Skills development is vital to the sustainability of the South African auto industry and our involvement in the Automotive Training Academy demonstrates our commitment to the industry's long-term survival.
"There is a lack of specialist skills in the sector and this announcement sends a strong message to government that Nissan wants to play a pivotal role - alongside other key institutions - in building capacity and capability within the industry," Whitfield added.
Gauteng's MEC for the Department of Economic Development in Gauteng, Nkosiphendule Kolisile, said that the project demonstrates the provincial government's commitment to growth in the automotive industry. "The provincial government has maintained a focus on the automotive manufacturing sector and worked consistently to provide an environment that is conducive to growing its competitiveness."
A key training component will be a production simulator, comprising vehicle assembly, body shop and paint shop, initially for improving the skills of Nissan's plant employees who will be involved in the production of a new 1-ton Nissan pick-up.
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