Huge skills short­age of trained me­chan­ics

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

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.

PHOTO: ALWYN VILJOEN

Ex­pe­ri­enced me­chanic Ti­nos Man­donye is in de­mand as in­de­pen­dent work­shops re­port a huge skills short­age.

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