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Ford Resource and Engagement Centre Empowers Early Childhood Development Graduates

  • Inaugural graduation ceremony held for 38 students who completed the Early Childhood Development (ECD) training at Ford’s Resource and Engagement Centre (FREC) in Pretoria
  • Centre provides skills development and training for community members from Mamelodi, helping them to get jobs or start their own businesses
  • 326 people have been trained to date across various courses, 90-percent women

PRETORIA, South Africa, 6 June 2018 – The pioneering Ford Resource and Engagement Centre (FREC) in Pretoria, South Africa, celebrated the graduation of 38 Early Childhood Development (ECD) students today, as part of its investment in community building across the African continent.

The Ford Resource and Engagement Centre, located near Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant, is the second resource centre of its kind created by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic branch of Ford Motor Company, and is modelled after the original Ford Resource and Engagement Centre in Southwest Detroit.

FREC assists approximately 200 people primarily from the nearby Mamelodi community with skills development and job training each year, and is operated in partnership with two local non-profit organisations, Future Families which provides care and support to vulnerable children and their families, and Harambee that focuses on the global youth unemployment challenge and connects employers with people seeking jobs.

The heart-warming graduation ceremony was attended by a high-level delegation from the Ford Motor Company Fund, comprising its President, Jim Vella, along with Mike Schmidt, Director of Education and Global Community Development, and Benna Logan, Global Development Manager.

“This is an exceptionally proud moment for the Ford Fund and the team from Ford South Africa, as it represents the realisation of the dreams and aspirations of each one of the Early Childhood Development graduates, who have been equipped with the necessary skills and training to make a meaningful contribution to the development and education of local children at this crucial stage in their lives,” Vella said.

“Education is the foundation for progress and empowerment, and these ECD graduates will now not only have the opportunities to gain employment for themselves by virtue of the training received, but will also be able to play an important role in creating a solid pre-school educational grounding for future generations,” Vella added.

Following the 12-month course, the graduates received an NQF Level 4 qualification that enables them to enter the field of Education, Training and Development, with a specific focus on Early Childhood Development. This gives them the necessary skills to provide quality early childhood development for babies, toddlers and young children at community-based services, ECD centres, at home and in educational institutions.

Operating with a Ford Fund grant of $500 000 (around R6.4-million) over a period of five years, the South African FREC opened its doors in May 2016. Along with the one-year ECD qualification, short courses are available in Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship, along with off-site training in hydroponic tunnels and carpet cleaning.

To date, the South African FREC has trained a total of 326 people across the various courses, of which approximately 90-percent are women. In addition to the skills development and training, an employment and placement centre forms part of the facility, and assists graduates with applying for jobs.

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About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund is the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. Ford Fund invests in transformational programs that advance innovation, empower people, promote social mobility and improve community prosperity. Ford Fund works with local and global partners to create opportunities in education, encourage safe driving, enlist employee volunteers and enrich community life. For more information, visit http://community.ford.com, or join us on Facebook @FordFund and Twitter @FordFund

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs,
manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 202,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford and its products and services, please visit 
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