NF meets the need for apprentices
Panel beaters praise non-profit initiative to place trainees
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.
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Celebrating success: (back, from left) Neo Motshabela, Caleb Makhela, Thaphiso Mohale, (front, from left) Roger McCleary, Busi Maile, Alleeshan Kisten and Eddy da Silva.