NF meets the need for ap­pren­tices

Panel beat­ers praise non-profit ini­tia­tive to place trainees

The Witness - Wheels - - INDUSTRY - AL­WYN VILJOEN

WHILE new car sales are down year on year, Roger McCleary as­sures it is not all doom and gloom.

Act­ing as master of cer­e­monies at an ex­clu­sive fundrais­ing lun­cheon that also an­nounced the suc­cesses of the NF Ap­pren­tice pro­gramme, he said 2015 is to date the fifth best year South Africa has seen in terms of car sales, and the fourth best year for bakkies.

Good car sales, of course, means more con­ges­tion on South Africa’s roads, which McCleary said is even more good news for panel beat­ers, who are get­ting an in­creas­ing num­ber of bumper bash­ings to re­pair.

The de­mand is grow­ing so fast, he said, that panel beat­ers and spray pain­ters can­not keep up. This is where Ntuthuko Foun­da­tion (NF) has seen a gap to meet both na­tional and lo­cal busi­ness needs by sourc­ing ap­pren­tices for the car-re­pair sec­tor.

Founder of the non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, Busi Maile said the NF Ap­pren­tices is a so­cial en­ter­prise that as­sists body-re­pair shops in ad­min­is­ter­ing ap­pren­tice­ship pro­grammes to meet their own busi­ness needs and South Africa’s aim to em­power black youth through skills trans­fer.

“NF Ap­pren­tices pro­vides ap­pren­tices with hands-on sup­port through their mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion pro­grammes at the var­i­ous NF part­ner auto-body re­pair shops, en­sur­ing that ap­pren­tices suc­cess­fully com­plete the MerSeta CBMT pro­gramme while as­sist­ing panel beat­ers to train skilled staff for their busi­nesses,” Maile said.

NF Ap­pren­tices has to date placed 47 ap­pren­tices at 18 panel beat­ers.

Allee­shan Kis­ten, CEO of the Col­li­sion Re­pair­ers Co-op­er­a­tive, said there is a great need for such ap­pren­tice train­ing in South Africa.

He said the coun­try has 2 097 reg­is­tered panel beat­ers, but only 1 680 qual­i­fied auto-body re­pair­ers.

“We re­ally need qual­i­fied ar­ti­sans, and NF Ap­pren­tices helps to bridge this gap,” he said.

Car-re­pair shop owner Eddy da Silva said the ap­pren­tices re­ally re­sponded to train­ing on the shop floor to the point where they be­came world class.

One such ap­pren­tice, Thaphiso Mo­hale, re­cently com­peted in Brazil against ap­pren­tices from 50 coun­tries to come 27th in the 2015 World Skills com­pe­ti­tion.

“See­ing how other coun­tries do things was fan­tas­tic, they train three years. I trained a few months and our stan­dard is al­most there,” he said.

NF co-or­di­na­tor and for­mer ap­pren­tice him­self Neo Mot­sha­bela said the ap­pren­tices at NF will next re­pair an ac­ci­dent-dam­aged Honda Jazz do­nated by Hol­lard in­sur­ance, and put up the car for auc­tion at a gala din­ner in March 2016.

Get more de­tail on the pro­gramme from nf.org.za • al­wyn.viljoen@wit­ness.co.za

PHOTO: AL­WYN VILJOEN

Cel­e­brat­ing suc­cess: (back, from left) Neo Mot­sha­bela, Caleb Makhela, Thaphiso Mo­hale, (front, from left) Roger McCleary, Busi Maile, Allee­shan Kis­ten and Eddy da Silva.

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