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Firm committed to youth development

ONELE DYONASE AND BUHLE NTSALAZE

These beneficiaries of CTSA’s graduate programme now fill senior positions at CTSA Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape

ONELE DYONASE AND BUHLE NTSALAZE These beneficiaries of CTSA’s graduate programme now fill senior positions at CTSA Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape

28th July 2023

     

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Tyre manufacturer Continental Tyre South Africa (CTSA) is tackling issues of employability in South Africa through its extensive range of youth development initiatives, ranging from student talent pool programmes to opportunities including apprenticeships, trainee pools, in-service trainees, Graduate in Training and the CTSA/BestDrive Learnerships for employees and unemployed youth.

These programmes allow young adults to acquire knowledge and skills in all facets of manufacturing, enabling them to gain insights into the organisation’s entire value chain while increasing their likelihood of employability.

CTSA human resources director Genevieve Naidoo says the country’s high unemployment figures prompted the company to establish various programmes.

“The high level of youth unemployment in South Africa is extremely worrying.

What makes the problem even more challenging is that we have a serious skills shortage in the manufacturing sector, so although there are job opportunities out there, finding suitably qualified people is extremely difficult.”

She highlights that while unemployment and skills shortages pose major challenges for the country, these issues are not insurmountable and that the industry has an important role to play in providing skills development opportunities.

“We have to empower our young people with the necessary learning and experiential training that will give them marketable skills to access job opportunities. This will empower them with the tools to break the cycle of poverty and build a brighter future as economically active members of the community.”

CTSA and its retail division, BestDrive launched a learnership programme in 2019. It is built around the learners completing a National Certificate in Automotive Repair and Maintenance with a focus on Tyre Fitment (NQF Level 2).

Learners are given insight into the tyre manufacturing process, followed by classroom and practical training at BestDrive fitment centres, says Naidoo.

“As a leading tyre manufacturer, our focus is naturally on manufacturing technology which encompasses an array of engineering fields and technical skills involved in tyre production. The pace of technological advancement and innovation is accelerating exponentially, and we are constantly adapting our business to Industry 4.0.

“Accordingly, our skills development and training programmes are continuously evolving to enable a smooth transition as we transform our business to the current era of digital and smart manufacturing,” Naidoo says.

Success Stories

Beneficiaries of CTSA’s graduate programme, Onele Dyonase and Buhle Ntsalaze, now fill senior positions at CTSA Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape.

Dyonase joined the company in 2016 as a finance graduate, and shortly after being absorbed as a financial clerk she expressed her desire to join Continental’s eXplore Controlling Graduate Programme. After being accepted into the programme, she completed her first international rotation between 2017 and 2019.

During her second international assignment at the Continental Tyre Sumter plant in the US between 2020 and 2022, she accepted an international role, where she was exposed to leadership responsibilities. Having completed her international assignment, she returned to the Gqeberha plant earlier this year to accept the senior controller position where she continues to encourage young people to study finance and accounting by sharing her journey with students at tertiary institutions.

“Working for Continental has enabled me to travel the world and work in diverse environments, which allowed me to expand my technical knowledge in manufacturing controlling and the tyre business . . . It has also accelerated my personal growth, as I believe there’s no better way to get to know yourself than in a foreign land,” Dyonase says.

Ntsalaze, meanwhile, joined CTSA’s manufacturing and engineering department in 2016 and was selected for a 12-month international development opportunity as part of Continental’s global eXplore Manufacturing and Engineering Programme, comprising a six-month home plant stay at CTSA’s Gqeberha plant and a six-month assignment in Germany.

He returned from his overseas stint in 2017 and was appointed as a process engineer. In 2021, he was promoted to Process Engineering department head.

Ntsalaze notes: “Continental has provided me with great opportunities. I became the first person in my family to travel abroad. It was my first experience working with and interacting with professionals on a global scale. This has afforded me the opportunity to inspire and encourage those in my family, social circle and myself to aim higher.”

He concludes that, having been afforded other opportunities by Continental through which he could experience and help solve problems at sister plants around the world, he has been empowered to step out of his comfort zone and ‘small town’ mentality, to learn to trust his capabilities and to “never underestimate the power of diversity”.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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