Pretoria - Luxury car brand Porsche is to establish a new training and recruitment centre in Cape Town that will, from the middle of 2017, provide a total of 75 young men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to train as service mechatronics engineers.

South Africa will be the second country after the Philippines to benefit from this training initiative by Porsche.

The training will unlock career opportunities for the young adults, not only at Porsche itself, but also with other brands in the Volkswagen Group with the programme specially designed to cover a wide range of topics to provide trainees with a broad spectrum of opportunities.

The project is being organised in association with Don Bosco Mondo together with its Don Bosco Salesian Institute Youth Projects in Cape Town and LSM Distributors, the Porsche importer in South Africa.

The three parties signed an official memorandum of understanding on Wednesday at the Porsche Centre in Johannesburg.

Oliver Blume, the chairman of the executive board of Porsche, said on Thursday that the group had a good experience with the initiative in Asia and believed the African continent needed help and that Porsche had a very successful sales organisation in South Africa.

“On the one side we will help to employ young people and on the other we need support for our future plans, for example with our future cars with new technologies, and so it’s a win-win situation,” he said.

Blume said Porsche had always been about more than just sales figures and revenue and was committed to fulfilling its social responsibility in markets throughout the world.

He said its project in Manila in the Philippines was a good example of this.

“We gain well trained and highly motivated staff for our growth markets in the Middle East. The graduates, in turn, benefit from long-term career prospects and can use their earnings to support their families,” he said.

Toby Venter, the owner and chief executive of LSM Distributors, said South Africa needed young people to have tangible and sustainable career prospects and who, as a result of these career prospects, served as role models for others and motivated them to take their fate into their own hands.

“A solid education is the key to success," he said. "Sadly there are still too many people in South Africa who do not complete their training because they see no prospects at the end of their education path.

“The Porsche Training and Recruitment Centre South Africa aims to achieve a solid training foundation and prospects within the Volkswagen Group for successful candidates,” he said.

Venter said several criteria would be taken into account when working through the candidate selection process, such as proof the family could not afford vocational training and that the applicant came from a region with a high youth unemployment rate.

He said there were three different routes on the training programme depending on the applicant’s qualifications.

Venter said if an applicant was already sufficiently qualified for vocational training, he or she could access the two-year car service mechatronics engineer training programme directly.

He added that any applicants that did not possess the required qualifications could complete a six- to eight-week life skills training course at the Don Bosco Salesian Institute Youth Project.

If the applicant lacked basic skills, they could apply for a year’s training, which would prepare them for the working world, he said.

“This option will be available to up to 50 people and will enable them to make clear progress in their development, regardless of whether they receive a place on the training programme or not,” he said.

Business Report