Jakkie Olivier, Chief Executive Officer of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), echoes Minister Blade Nzimande’s comments on applauding Governments commitment to tackling youth unemployment in the long term by prioritizing education and the skills deficit that exists.
Olivier agrees that if the country wants to address the current skills crisis we need to strengthen and build more TVET Colleges and shift focus towards more vocational and technical education.
He says in the automotive aftermarket sector specifically, growth is definitely predicted from the small to medium businesses that are going to drive the economy. “It is here that we are sitting with a skills crisis of technicians across the automotive sector. As an industry we have to address the automotive skills shortages, reduce unemployment and be part of real transformation. The reality is that there has been no real skills development and/or under-investment in human capital for many years in our country. Skills have been outpaced by technology and there has been a loss of businesses and profits. Improved skills will result in increased productivity. It is all about professional standards and changing of perceptions and encouraging business owners to draw in new entrants into the sector,” says Olivier.
Olivier believes if we can drive the inclusion of more apprentices and start migrating the informal business into the formal sector, we will have a far stronger sector. “Significantly for every small and informal business or every apprentice successfully converted and absorbed into the formal sector, 5 jobs are likely to be created. Each of these newly employed people in turn, financially support another 20 people on average in the process,” he says.
RMI has been contracted by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to assume the role of Occupational Team Convener (OTC) for the Diesel and Automotive Motor mechanic trades using the occupational qualification delivery method at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in South Africa. The first intake of apprentices was in 2019 and the Department has just approved the 2020 intake of 30 apprentices at the Centres of Specialization Automotive Motor Mechanic at Port Elizabeth College Iqhayiya Campus and College of Cape Town Athlone campus.
“It is encouraging to see this type of progress and commitment from Government. We welcome the addition of nine more campuses in our more outlying areas as well as the introduction of new learning modules for younger children,” concludes Olivier.