In 1981 Mercedes-Benz had a vision to develop artisans and skills in the Eastern Cape. The Mercedes-Benz Technical Training Centre was born. Fast forward to 2014, where Mercedes would take another leap forward and approached the National Treasury and Job Fund to create the Mercedes-Benz Learning Academy, which was passed. By 2016 the new facility was complete, right opposite the Mercedes-Benz factory in East London.

The aim: to help young adults who are leaving the schooling and education sectors and enabling them to find jobs, through equipping them with the necessary skills and tools at no cost to themselves. Once they complete their course, they can either be recruited immediately to start working in the factory, or (at a cost to the company) further their education in similar fields, to then be recruited after their graduation.

Lona Ndakisa is an auto electrician apprentice with the Mercedes-Benz Learning Academy. A small girl, many asked her why she would want to do this kind of job, which is traditionally a male dominated trade. She jokes she has already disassembled a gearbox and got a ‘rush’ from that. She is proud of her stature and it is something she enjoys.

Through this new facility, a lot of international suppliers for Mercedes-Benz have set up shop here in South Africa, making production and creation of these luxury vehicles easier and bringing a much needed boost to the South African economy. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is now proudly made in South Africa.