Mercedes-Benz to train auto technicians

27 January 2012

Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) is initiating a technical learnership at the St Anthony’s Centre in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, to help address the shortage of appropriately skilled technicians in the country’s automotive sector.

The three-year pilot programme will see MBSA collaborating with the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (MerSeta) and St Anthony’s to provide NQF level three qualifications for an initial intake of 24 learners.

MBSA and MerSeta will provide funding of R1.4-million per year, while St Anthony’s staff will provide the training competence for the theoretical part of the programme.

In a statement this week, MBSA corporate affairs manager Nobuzwe Mangcu said the company shared the concern and commitment of the South African government to educate and equip the country’s youth with skills.

“We want to focus on a sound skills base and a pipeline of technically-skilled individuals,” Mangcu said. “The automotive industry is strongly driven by technological advancement, and we have a severe shortage of technical skills.”

On the job training

MBSA has enlisted the assistance of their dealer network, which comprises 87 dealerships across the country, to expose the learners to the workplace, and provide on-the-job training.

Each learner will have the opportunity to be mentored by a dealership for four months. During this time they will complete their portfolio of evidence for their final assessments, putting theoretical studies into practise.

The learners receive a stipend during this practical training phase, which also includes a month’s exposure to Mercedes-Benz’s specialised, product-specific maintenance training.

Successful completion of the programme will equip learners with a certificate in automotive repair and maintenance, but the workplace exposure will give them a head-start in their future careers.

“This is an example of the private sector partnering with government towards meeting and addressing key challenges for South Africa,” said MerSeta CEO Raymond Patel. “It also contributes to job creation, the enhancement of skills, socio-economic development and enterprise development.”

SAinfo reporter

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