Economic trouble has slowed consumer spending and the motor industry is feeling the dry spell as Mzansi motorists are holding onto their vehicles for longer.
This has boosted the need for independent workshops – especially for motorists whose existing dealer maintenance and repair plans have expired.
The increased demand is good for independent repair shops but the need for them to upgrade staff skills is more important than ever before.
Pieter Niemand, director of the Motor Industry Workshop Association, said that industries all over South Africa were facing huge skill shortages. “Workshop owners need to train their current staff and identify where the critical skill gaps lie.”
Vehicles have become far more complex over the past few years as more electronic features have been added. Mechanics are now expected to be service sophisticated, technical devices.
“This is why the Right to Repair campaign is working to make critical information accessible to the industry. This does mean that mechanics need to be continuously upskilling to meet the demand.”
For this reason, the motor industry association partnered with American training company, Delmar, to host the popular master technician course in South Africa.
The association also partnered with AA Technical College to offer a three-week practical training course followed by a two-day trade test for automotive electricians, diesel and motor mechanics.
“The trade test is designed to allow experienced workshop staff to attain a qualification without attending formal training.
“The artisan recognition of prior learning process for motor and diesel mechanics changes in October. To encourage attendence in the trade test, the AA offers association members a 50% discount on standard rates for those who enrol before this date.”