The automotive industry offers exciting opportunities for disciplined, driven youngsters with an entrepreneurial outlook and a hunger to succeed.
This is good news for young South Africans, for whom employment prospects are sadly grim: with an unemployment rate of 34.9%, the country will be able to provide jobs for only three in 10 matrics.
The automotive industry, therefore, offers an exciting glimmer of hope for those whose career paths are not yet clearly defined. With a notable need for skills in several areas – including motor body repair and spray painting; petrol mechanics; diesel mechanics; automotive engineering and machining; engine fitting; welding; vehicle bodybuilding; and auto electrical – the sector is able to provide learning opportunities for many young people. Even more importantly, these students are able to earn a salary while they hone their skills.
New entrants to the industry would start their careers as apprentices. The next step is to complete a trade test to qualify as an artisan or journeyman. From here, it becomes possible to specialise in a certain area – and this is where prospects become exciting: there are many opportunities for experts in areas like colour mixing and matching; application of waterborne and 2 and 3 stage pearlescent paint; passenger and commercial vehicle technicians; vehicle engine remanufacturing; diagnostic and fault finding technicians; coded welding; and steering geometry and advanced driver-assistance systems.
Individuals interested in pursuing these opportunities should consult the following sources for more information:
- Department Higher Education and Training National Career Advice Portal Khetha
- merSETA’s career portal
- TVET colleges with engineering campuses or offering motor-related apprenticeships
- Corporate motor vehicle dealer groups with private training centres: Motus Training Academy
- Barloworld Motor Retail South Africa
- Artisan Training Institute
- SA Institute of Welding
- SA Truck Bodies Training Centre
- Kigima auto electrical training centre