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Motor industry Trade Preparation Programme kicks into high gear

Motor industry Trade Preparation Programme kicks into high gear

COLLEGE of Cape Town, in partnership with industry, recently launched a pilot project specifically designed to meet the needs identified by the motor industry.  The College was approached by Imperial

AMH (Associated Motor Holdings,) one of the largest transport and logistics companies in the world, to offer the Trade Preparation Programme (TPP) on behalf of (and in partnership with) Imperial AMH and its associated partners, Barloworld, McCarthy Motor Group, Sandown Motors, Rola Motors and the RMI.

The College of Cape Town was identified by Imperial AMH to run this pilot programme with 100 students for them, where placement into an apprenticeship is guaranteed for graduates from the programme.  The College and Imperial gave their commitment to be involved in the pilot project and, if proven to be successful, to continue with a roll out on a larger scale as the need within the industry, according to Imperial AMH, was huge.  This partnership speaks directly to not only the “Year of the Artisan,” but sets the foundation for the “Decade of the Artisan.”

“This programme is the first big step towards changing the motor industry and filling the gaps. This is a great opportunity that rarely comes around, and shows the faith and confidence of industry in the abilities of the College of Cape Town and its students,” said Ebrahim Peters, Deputy 
Principal: Academic.

“The launch of this project is a historic moment for students, parents, industry and the country,” said Sean Fenn, Divisional General Manager, Development and Learning at Imperial.  Addressing the students, parents, members of industry and representatives of the College, Fenn provided valuable insight into the specific needs of the motor industry, and the reasoning behind industry’s intervention in ensuring that a skilled labour force is created to meet their growing need world-wide.  “Imperial and our associates need young people skilled to maintain the assets that keep our business profitable.  Your participation in this project is the launch of light, hope and the future for vocational training for the motor industry.”

According to statistics presented at the launch, only around 1% of artisans recruited into the motor industry have adequate qualifications and practical skills.  With vehicle sales increasing exponentially each month, and the average age of artisans in this trade being 39 to 44 years old, the motor industry indeed faces a tremendous crisis.  “Industry needs 24,919 technicians, of which 6,230 apprentices are required each year only for light vehicles.  Imperial AMH needs 9,298 apprentices per year.  The need is clearly evident when one considers that there are only 4,635 registered apprentices in industry in the motor sector in South Africa,” said Fenn.

Emanating from further engagements it was broadly agreed that the partnership would amongst others, have the following benefits for industry, College and 
the students:

  • A pipeline of well-prepared students will be created, ensuring that they would be much more work-ready for their industry
  • A tremendous saving in company recruitment and costs associated with orienting students to the industry
  • A shorter training period for the student with the company and therefore ensuring that apprentices are more productively utilized
  • For the company to make a direct input on the design of the programme via interactions with the merSeta
  • An opportunity for the company to contribute towards the vision of South Africa by assisting in eradicating unemployment, building a more productive workforce and assisting in building the economy
  • For the College to work closer with industry and therefore responding directly to their needs
  • Creating guaranteed work placement opportunities for College graduates
  • Keeping its curriculum  current and industry focused
  • An opportunity to broaden the College footprint and creating similar opportunities for a bigger pool of its students with the companies
  • Supporting the College in realizing its goal of becoming a merSeta Centre of Excellence in the Automotive Repair Industry
  • Creating staff development opportunities for Work Placement Experiential opportunities for lecturing and other staff
  • Opportunities for staff to be up to date with the latest industry trends
  • Contributing to the outputs of the Department of Higher Education and Training and the Minister’s performance agreement, and therefore becoming a much more responsive College

The TPP will be covered over two trimesters and two phases.  Each phase consists of three Report 191 subjects, a Computer Literacy/Life Orientation subject, Communication/Language subject and a Skills subject, which will be based on the Competency Based Modular Training (CBMT) modules of the merSeta, and covers basic orientation to the industry, facets on practical skills, safety and first aid.  Graduates will receive further specialized training at Imperial AMH after graduation from the College at the end of Trimester one in 2014, before entering their apprenticeships at Imperial AMH. The broad outline of the programme makes use of what already exists and has been proven to be successful, and combining it to make a customized programme.  The general consensus was that it was not necessary to reinvent the wheel, but rather to take the best of what exists, customize, contextualize and add where necessary to ensure the required outcomes to meet industry needs.

Fenn encouraged students to grasp the opportunity to be part of this groundbreaking project with both hands.  “Industry is committed to offering you an apprenticeship once you graduate.  The rest is up to you.”

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