Mercedes-Benz Learning Academy
Education and skills development is paramount to the business and sustainability of Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) and the communities in which we operate. To this end, the company has over many years showed its commitment to participate in the national collaborative effort to ensure skills transfer and job creation for workers in the automotive sector.
The Mercedes-Benz Learning Academy (MBLA) is at the core of our efforts to ensure that we readily have the availability of the right skills at the right time and support the competitiveness of the East London Plant. The below will highlight the MBLA’s extensive history and the successful achievements of this team.
Did you know?
Fact: In 1981, the MBSA Technical training centre opened its doors as one of the first multi-racial training facilities in the country. The MBLA has made a significant contribution of not only affording opportunities to people who would otherwise not have received technical training, but also alleviating the shortage of qualified artisans in the Eastern Cape and meet the strong demand for advanced technical skills. This year we proudly celebrate 4 decades of the Mercedes-Benz Learning Academy. We plan to celebrate our 40 years of learning excellence in the fourth quarter.
Fact: The impressive artwork displayed in the Academy’s G3 building foyer, depicts the ideology of 19th century philosopher Johann Pestalozzi, whose motto was, “Learning by head, hand and heart”. The combination of the corresponding knowledge and creativity ,combined with practical skill and passion yields the optimum results from any learner.
If you take a close look at our Learning Academy collateral you will notice the left brain- right brain theory that suggests that the left brain is our centre of practical, numerical and logical thought processes. The right brain is our creative side. The artwork suggests that, although our training is largely technical in nature, we encourage creativity from our learners so that they might challenge boundaries and seek new ways of solving problems.
The hands depict the transfer of theoretical knowledge into practical skills – this is the ‘purpose’ of our learning journey. The heart speaks to the commitment, passion and motivation needed to approach learning with the right attitude; sustainable success starts with a willingness to learn and a desire to be successful and make a positive difference in the world.
Meet our Team.
Let’s deep dive into the subunits within the MBLA team.
Shopfloor Skills - Provides school leavers the opportunity to deeper understand the requirements of working in a manufacturing environment. They tackle topics such as hand tools, power tools, measuring, production systems and quality procedures. Specialised training in product safety, torque tools and production digital systems are offered to our plant employees. Annually, we support approximately 300 learners with a 50:50 male and female gender target, thereby contributing to a healthy pipeline for the plant. This past year saw the team train in excess of 670 learners to support with the ramp-up of the W206.
Apprentices - We offer a variety of trades for technical students wanting to achieve their millwright, electrical, automotive electrician, motor mechanic and fitter and turner trades. In 2020, The MBLA achieved full re-accreditation of all of its trades. In the future, all training centres will be required to transition from ‘older’ legacy trades to the new occupational trade certificates. Through our close working relationship with the Department of Higher Education, and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), we have been the first training centre to pilot the Motor Mechanic Occupational trade. We currently have 83 apprentices who are on campus. We are also supporting 32 P1 students, and various other revenue generating training for external candidates.
Advanced Technology Training - 2020 celebrated the virtual launch of the Learning Academy Reference cell. The Reference Cell equips Learning Academy apprentices, plant artisans and specialists, as well as external customers, with advanced technical training in a practical sandbox testing environment. The Learning Academy has also been accredited by KUKA and Daimler Integra, as certified trainers and has also achieved more than 18000 training hours for our W206 Cell Tech Qualification Team.
Learning & Development - The team provides support to the business by way of training and development programmes, talent pipeline management (including Bursars, Students and GDPs) , hosting and managing MBSA’s Learner Management System, skills development facilitation, and driving learning optimisation and digitalisation. Our Quality Management System connects us all and ensures that our operations are efficient and standardised. Our achievements include onboarding a record 73 Bursars this year, a healthy talent pipeline accommodating employee’s children and top performers from our region. We also over-achieved on our targeted 20 SD points through the recent B-BBEE verification. The W206 change-over training accommodating all hourly paid’s is currently underway across the plant and MBLA venues – good luck to our training team!
• To refine our vision and purpose, in-line with the plant and regional needs.
• Continue on our digitalisation drive, despite the limitations and restrictions that COVID has imposed.
• We never affording people the opportunity to learn.
• Introducing our new LMS system: SABA cloud in the new year to bring enhanced learning opportunities.
• Improving on our premium brand bursary to secure the best talent for MBSA.
• To continue driving revenue for the MBLA.
We love that…
We are given the opportunity to support others in their development journey. It’s such a privilege to know that we can influence, help and guide employees in their careers. We have contributed to the various needs of our plant and the broader Eastern Cape region for more than 40 years. HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY Mercedes-Benz Learning Academy.
Good-bye W205, Hello W206