Ford invests R11.5m in new community, jobs training centre
US car maker Ford on Tuesday announced that it would invest R11.5-million in the construction and operation of a new job training and entrepreneurial development centre at its South African assembly plant, in Silverton.
The Ford Resource and Engagement Centre (FREC) was slated to open in October.
Ford Motor Company (FMC) Fund and Community Services president Jim Vella said in Pretoria that the FREC was only the second resource centre of its kind to be created by the company in the world, with the first located in Detroit, US, where unemployment reached between 11% and 13%.
It was anticipated that the centre would assist around 200 people a year, most of them from the Mamelodi community. The centre would operate in partnership with the nongovernmental organisation, Future Families.
Future Families’ Penny Learmonth said the centre’s first course, for which it was awaiting accreditation, was on early childhood development and afterschool care, to be followed by training on entrepreneurship and a variety of entry-level job positions.
“There will be a strong focus on employability,” said Learmonth. “The training will be for free.”
She noted that youth unemployment in Tshwane was at 32%.
Vella added that the FREC would follow the lead of the community on the projects they would like to see happen at the centre.
Since opening in Detroit three years ago, FREC had assisted more than 80 000 local residents through a range of social and cultural services, including providing 1.2-million pounds of food and helping to complete 6 100 tax returns.