On 12 April, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) hosted its annual Careers Day for Grade 11 and 12 learners at its Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, and Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth.
A total of 120 learners (80 in Pretoria and 40 in Port Elizabeth), from various schools and socio-economic backgrounds, were exposed to the vast number of career opportunities available at a global vehicle manufacturer, and provided with a valuable platform to engage with employees who operate in different fields within the organisation.
“Besides the obvious design, manufacturing, marketing, financing, and servicing of vehicles, Ford is passionately pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles, and mobility solutions at a global level,” says Thabo Masete, Human Resources Director at FMCSA. “We believe that freedom of movement drives human progress, and we aspire to become the world’s most trusted mobility company, designing smart vehicles in a smart world. This requires a huge number of people, with a vast array of skill sets and qualifications, to fill the various roles. And this is what we wanted to show the learners today.”
The automotive industry is about so much more than just building cars: Electrical, Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering, Product Design, Manufacturing, Communications, Marketing, Finance, Purchasing, Information Technology (IT), Supply Chain Management, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Wellness, and Human Resources (HR) – the learners were exposed to information about all the possible career paths at Ford – some of which they hadn’t been aware of, or given due consideration yet.
Representatives from the Tshwane University of Technology, Boston College, and the Ford Resource and Engagement Centre were also on hand to explain more about the various courses they offer.
“I think the learners were particularly inspired by our Ford employees who had successfully completed our Graduate Programme,” says Masete. “These employees are walking-talking advertisements for what can be achieved with focus and hard work. Interestingly enough, our MD Neale Hill also started his career at Ford as a Graduate Trainee, almost 30 years ago.”
The learners went home enlightened and motivated, with a much clearer understanding of the possibilities that their futures hold.
The HR team at FMCSA would like to offer the following advice to learners who plan to study further after school:
- Seek advice from career counsellors, and attend Careers Days, which usually take place at tertiary institutions between April and June. These are a great place to find out more about the various courses on offer, and give you a chance to speak to an expert one-on-one about your study options.
- Job shadowing is a great way to find out from someone on the ground exactly what qualification and skill sets you need, what your day-to-day duties will entail, and help you decide if this is really the career path you’d like to pursue.
- Deciding where to study after school is exciting, but it can also be quite daunting. Do some online research to understand how broad your options are.
- If you’re not lucky enough to have parents who are able to pay your study fees, figuring out how you’re going to finance your studies can be stressful. Many organisations, including Ford offer bursaries and scholarships. Contact these organisations to understand their criteria or contact your bank to understand if you qualify for a student loans.
- Look at career-focused qualifications which suit your aptitudes and interests. These kind of qualifications often include work-integrated learning, which allows you to gain valuable hands-on experience throughout your time studying, which will put you in a much stronger position when applying for a position after graduation.
- When applying for a certain course, it is important to take note of the deadline for submissions, what the entry requirements are, where to access the application forms, and how to submit your completed forms.
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