Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) recently announced the creation of the Toyota Empowerment Trust (TET) which has been seeded with R42-million in start-up funding.
The focus of TET will be on skills and enterprise development initiatives in the automotive industry. Initially the initiative will facilitate the training and qualification of specialised automation technicians.
“The Toyota Empowerment Trust will implement training and enterprise development initiatives alongside and in support of our other education initiatives. These include our Toyota Teach programme that supports over 9 primary schools and our Toyota Technical Education Programme (T-TEP) that supports, and often manages, technical high schools in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng,” says Andrew Kirby, President and CEO of Toyota SA Motors.
Toyota has already started with the creation of a fully-equipped robotics and automation training facility in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. This facility will train technicians in the maintenance of complex manufacturing equipment, such as welding and spray painting robots.
The new robotics and automation facility will form part of TALA, Toyota’s corporate training division. TALA has campuses in Gauteng and Durban and is one of the largest corporate training facilities in South Africa.
In addition to the training, the TET will eventually be able to support qualified technicians to start their own maintenance firms and offer this highly sought-after specialist service to Toyota and other vehicle manufacturers in South Africa.
Says Kirby: “As the largest vehicle manufacturer in South Africa, we are ideally suited to offer this type of training. Trainees will be able to hone their skills at our manufacturing facility in Prospecton, Durban, and we will no doubt use their new talents to full effect at our plant.
“I trust that many of the trainees will find employment at our plant or, in the case of prospective small business owners, a stable base of work from where they can expand their services to other manufacturers.”
TSAM training is expected to start in January 2018.