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The Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) and the Chamber of Crafts Erfurt, also more popularly known as Handwerkskammer Erfurt, have just concluded a partnership to drive vocational training in the automotive aftermarket in the Eastern Cape.
Jakkie Olivier, Chief Executive Officer of the RMI says the partnership demonstrates the RMI’s commitment to furthering training in the sector and equipping new entrants with the skills necessary to work on modern constantly evolving vehicles. “Technological advances in the automotive after-market sales, repair, and maintenance sector continue to provide challenges for businesses to attract staff with the right kind of skills who can add value. The access to international trends will be invaluable for our apprentices, particularly in an environment where skills are valued and provide businesses with a competitive advantage,” he says.
Olivier says it is time to change the perception of trade qualifications and make them much more appealing to young people looking for a career. “We will be working with the Handwerkskammer Erfurt to uplift the perception of skilled crafts and we also want to see far more women coming into the profession. We are delighted with the progress technical schools like Newton Technical High School in the Eastern Cape are already making and our collaborative partnership will give this additional impetus.”
Last year the German Craft Chamber embarked on diagnostic training with TVET and technical high school teacher in the region. According to CEO, Thomas Malcherek we were looking to partner with a trade association so we can align our training with industry needs and also provide those companies with suitably qualified professionals. This cooperation between business and vocational training institutions makes for a far more stable outcome,” he says.
RMI’s Training Manager, Louis Van Huyssteen agrees confirming the upskilling of apprentice facilitators and lecturers is crucial to train apprentices at institutions. “This partnership will also ensure the Department of Higher Education and Training TVET Centres of Specialization benefit. Public and private collaboration can ensure greater success in the gradual expansion of these centres into other provinces,” he says.
Olivier confirmed that a strong team has now been put in place to interface with the Handwerkskammer Erfurt including RMI President, Me. Jeanne Esterhuizen in and advisory capacity, RMI National Director Training, Mr. Louis van Huyssteen (both Ministerial appointments on the manufacturing, engineering and related services Sector Education and Training Authority (merSETA), and Mr. Erwin Stroebel, RMI Regional Manager for the Eastern Cape. He also confirmed RMI members would be available to provide practical training in the Eastern Cape.
“If the model works we can think about extending it further into other provinces,” he says.
“There is no doubt that the benefits of a well-run apprentice program with a reputable skills development provider, accrue to the employer, the learner, the private or public training institution, and the economic growth of our country as a whole. With 4IR and all the many changes taking place, this is an exciting industry for young people to consider moving into,” concludes Olivier.