Huge skills shortage of trained mechanics
INDEPENDENT workshop owners report a huge skills shortage and called on school leavers to train to become mechanics.
Pieter Niemand, director of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (Miwa), said it’s a challenge for workshop owners to find skilled staff and head hunting has become the norm.
He said mechanics are now expected to be service engineers with the ability to operate at complex, technical levels, as vehicles have become increasingly more complex over the years with the addition of highly advanced electronic components.
“We believe auto workshop owners will need to shift their focus from merely retaining customers to offering a multiskilled expert that can advise on and service vehicles across the board,” said Niemand.
He said Miwa offers a Master Technician Course through the American training company Delmar.
Miwa has also partnered with the AA Technical College to provide a three-week practical followed by a two-day trade test aimed at automotive electricians, diesel mechanics and motor mechanics.
“The trade test is designed to allow experienced workshop staff to attain a qualification even though they did not attend formal training,” he said.
“The minister of Higher Education and Training has announced changes to the ARPL (Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning) process, the first of which are for motor and diesel mechanics.
These changes will come into effect on October 19, so the AA is offering Miwa members a 50% discount on standard rates for ARPL candidates before this date.”
As the biggest association in the Retail Motor Industry (RMI), Miwa has taken on the responsibility of encouraging artisan training by linking with one of the largest providers, Bidvest McCarthy.
“We have a major unemployment problem in South Africa and there is much opportunity in the aftermarket motor industry. The time has come to put aside misperception and encourage young people to consider training in this industry,” Niemand said.
Experienced mechanic Tinos Mandonye is in demand as independent workshops report a huge skills shortage.