Advice and networking for small businesses

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One of our most recent training initiatives saw members of the Retail Motor Industry, the Small Enterprise Development Agency, Small Enterprise Finance Agency, National Youth Development Agency and FNB gather at the Orbit TVET College Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubator for a breakfast networking session.

The session created a platform for stakeholders to share opportunities and advice around issues such as how to access markets, funding and compliance, while also offering a chance for stakeholders to network.

Amongst the VIP who attended were Peter Matlou, centre manager; Solomon Matjiane, campus manager; W. Molapi; Stenly Kekana, student support manager; and Abbie Mogashoa, Moses Kotane LED.

New Venture Creation programme provides opportunities for informal employers

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Congratulations to participants in RMI’s New Venture Creation programme, who were recognised for reaching milestones in the programme at a recent event held in Centurion.

The learnership programme is creating important opportunities for informal employers in the automotive industry to become formally recognised. Training focuses on upskilling participants in general mechanical repairs, motor body repair and spray painting, parts sales and tyre fitment centres, ensuring that they are equipped to meet industry standards in terms of compliance, tools, equipment, infrastructure and human resources. This training not only positions businesses to function sustainably; it also ensures they follow the principles of sound corporate citizenship and positions them to gain new business from government, insurance, fleet, and Original Equipment Manufacturer approval panels.

The qualification is viewed as a helpful bridge to help rural and informal businesses become recognised as equal participants in the formal economy.

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From the left (back row):  Jakkie Olivier (RMI), Noni Tshabalala (RMI Transformation Director); Christi Brill (Gondolier, Marketing Manager), Karel Venter (Gondolier, Chief Operations Officer) and Mike Wenk (Equal Career Services – trainer).  In the front (from the left) are Marcia Modiba (RMI/Motor Industry Workshop Association – Association Representative), Kumbeka Lolwana (prize winner); Mukwee Tutsirai (prize winner), Hector Malinga (Prize Winner), and Madoda Sonwabo (RMI/Motor Industry Workshop Association – Association Representative).  Prize winners absent at the ceremony are:  Tebs Jiyane, July Mahlangu, David Tau, Madira Cheze and Moses Nkuna.

Announcing the winners of the Free State Department of Education Technical Schools Competition Provincial Finals

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Last month, we reported on the technical Skills Specialisation Competition (Welding and Metalwork), which was hosted by Wimpie Ludewyk – Manager: vocation schools for technical and agricultural schools Free State.

MIWA has long supported the event and were pleased to have a chance to get actively involved when MIWA regional representative for the Free State and Northern Cape, Reemo Swartz, was selected to judge the automotive component. Eighty-two grade 10 and 11 learners took part in the contest and were judged on skills such as removing spark plugs, resetting gaps according to the manufacturers’ instructions, labelling and refitting various parts, and bleeding the braking system. 

Winners had a chance to participate in the finals, which took place at HTS Louis Botha in Louis Botha in Bloemfontein. The four-day event saw students showing off their skills in the fields of welding, plumbing, power systems, electronics, automotive, construction as well as woodworking. 

The event organisers extended their thanks to all facilitators, mentors and teachers from HTS Welkom, Iketsetseng CSS, Hodisa Secondary Technical School, Bethlehem Voortrekker Hoerskool, HTS Sasolburg, HTS Louis Botha, Bethlehem CSS, Lenyora la Thuto Technical School, Ficksburg High School, and Koffiefontein CSS.

Thanks also went to event sponsors – including primary sponsor Sasol, Plumblink, IOPSA, Dutton Plastics, Spargo MICA, Seebox, CS Electrical Training Centre, Gryffen Dynamics, SA Truck Bodies, Educatory Electro Services, Gondolier, and RMI/MIWA – who lent their all-important support in the form of tools, knowledge, training venues and even scholarships to the winners. A big thanks to Sasol for being the main financial sponsor for the event. Without these sponsors the event would not have been possible.

Our hearty congratulations to the winners of the automotive section – Jacques Smit of HTS Sasolburg, Unathi Khula of HTS Welkom, and Phillip Cronje of Bethlehem Voortrekker Hoerskool – who proved their skills in removing and re-torquing a cylinder head in the correct sequence, setting wheel-bearing pre-load, and removing and refitting crank and main bearing. Each took home a set of tools to get them started on their satisfying and rewarding careers.

We believe initiatives such as this play a crucial role in exposing young people to our field and are therefore integral to ensuring ongoing success.

Right To Repair: Tier One Sponsor

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Every month, we take great pride in introducing our members to the Tier 1 sponsors of South Africa’ Right to Repair campaign. This month, the spotlight falls on Car Service City.

Car Service City is a nationwide, award-winning network of over 70 servicing and repairs workshops for all makes of cars and bakkies.

At the heart of Car Service City’s philosophy and business success is its commitment to offering customers the best quality service through conveniently located workshops, at affordable prices and in the most customer-centric way. 

As proof of this commitment, the brand has won numerous awards, including 2017 & 2019 Star Reader’s Choice Winner for Best Car Service Centre; 2017 FASA Winner for Franchisor of the Year; 2017 FASA Finalist for Job Creator of the Year; and 2015 FASA Winner for Job Creator of the Year.

As a franchise, Car Service City ensures that all its workshops are run by highly trained franchisees and technical staff and are equipped with comprehensive technological resources. For this reason, it doesn’t matter which workshop you walk into – you will always be met with trustworthy professionals ready to offer you quality service you can rely on.

With the Right to Repair in play, Car Service City offers the BEST deals on all car services and repairs even if your vehicle is in warranty.

Car Service City is a proud U Count Rewards partner and also offers to fix our customers’ cars now, and pay it off later!

Living up to our promise of affordable service, always, guaranteed!

Click here to find out more about Car Service City’s services, locations, and specials.

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Diving into the depths

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When he’s not performing auto electrical repairs on cars and trucks at Autolek George, you’ll find Bennie Berning snapping away with his camera. Maybe that doesn’t sound too different from the rest of us – who doesn’t enjoy taking a good selfie every now and then, after all – except that Bennie’s subject matter often involves fish, sea plants, and other underwater wonders.

Bennie explains that he started diving around 20 years ago. Although he lived in Gauteng, he took advantage of the family holidays to KwaZulu-Natal to explore underwater. Now that he lives in the Garden Route, he spends as much time diving as he can.

How did he come to combine this hobby with his other great interest, photography? Bennie explains that he loves sharing pictures and videos of everything he sees underwater with his friends and family because this is second best to having them join him on his diving adventures. As he says, it’s much more fun sharing the experience.

Bennie has explored the waters of Barra in Mozambique, the Aliwal Shoal in KwaZulu-Natal, and Sodwana Bay, and has done some freshwater dives at Miracle Waters in Brits. However, it is the cleanup dives in his hometown he is most passionate about. The diving community is very conscious of humanity’s impact on the ocean and use their time underwater to clean up pollution caused by sinkers, tackle, lines and sinkers lying on the ocean floor.

His favourite dive sites? Anton’s Reef in Sodwana, where the massive schools of fish swimming past are a sheer wonder, and Raggies Cave in Aliwal Shoal – because, he says, coming so close to sharks is an incredible experience.

You can share Bennie’s lens on the underwater world by logging on to the YouTube channel he shares with his friend; check out Jack Hartland to find out more.

Be a better driver

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This month is Transport Month and we thought it a great time to talk about safe driving techniques. 

One of the easiest ways for your customers to save money on costly vehicle repairs is by driving their cars safely. This, after all, means that they are less likely to have accidents. Here are MIWA chairperson Dewald Ranft’s top tips for safe driving:

  • Pay attention to the road. There is a lot to focus on while you’re driving – your brain is inputting information about everything from the conditions of the road to the speed of the vehicles around you – so any form of distraction can have a negative impact.
  • Keep calm. A surprisingly large number of accidents are caused by drivers who can’t manage their emotions. Aggression and road rage can contribute to reckless driving.
  • Update your skills regularly. Just because you have a license doesn’t mean you know everything about driving. The best drivers proactively take the time to refresh their knowledge.
  • Remember that you are sharing the road – and not all of your fellow road users are cars. Keep an eye out for pedestrians (especially at intersections), cyclists and motorbikes, even while you’re taking heed of what other drivers are doing. A sudden lane change can be dangerous for both of you if you aren’t paying attention. With this in mind, make sure that your vehicle is always positioned to give you a clear view of the road: you should be able to see at least two, preferably three, cars ahead of you, so that you have room to move if you need to. If this isn’t the case, move your car to a spot that gives you better visibility.

Such a shock! Why shock absorbers make a difference

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Stopping, speed, and stability – these are the areas where shocks have the most impact on a car. Unfortunately, though, any changes to these functions that have occurred because of wear and tear happen so gradually that drivers barely notice them.

That’s a hazard, not just for the driver, but for anyone else on the road. Here’s an example of just how dangerous it is to drive with worn shocks: If you’re travelling alone in the car at a speed of 80km/h on a straight road, it can take 2.6m longer than it should for the car to come to a halt. Add more passengers and an uneven road surface, and it will take 11.3m longer, even if you’re only driving at 70km/h. Obviously, the risk increases with factors such as poor visibility or wet conditions. 

Telltale signs that it’s time to replace shocks include a vibrating steering wheel, oil leakage, irregular or increased tyre wear, and steering that does not centre by itself. 

It is important to choose quality shock absorbers when replacing this car part. Shock absorbers that seem very cheap may not be correctly assembled, aren’t sufficiently robust and may lack flexibility, all of which means they will not perform properly.

Managing year-end stress

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It’s been a tumultuous year for all of us – but, happily, the end is now in sight. Although we’re all welcoming the prospect of a break and a fresh start in January, the reality is that the final few months of any year tend to be the most stressful, as we cram to complete work and keep up with social and family obligations around the holidays. Follow these tips to help you get through the final push:

  • Self-care comes first. By now it’s become boring to hear, but it’s still worth repeating: If you don’t have the basics in place (good sleep, a balanced diet and some invigorating exercise), you’ll find everything far more difficult to cope with.
  • Practice self-awareness. When you’re busy and rushing from one job to another, it’s easy for the entire day to become a blur. You may therefore miss out on your body’s signals, like hunger – and before you know it, what started out as a pang becomes a full blown hunger attack. Take a few minutes to monitor what you’re feeling, so that if there is anything you can address (like thirst or a headache), you can do so before it becomes a major issue.
  • Make time for hobbies. Often, we tend to let work or other priorities take over at busy times because we believe they’re more urgent. Wrong! It’s exhausting to keep going without replenishing your energy, so whatever it is you love doing – whether it’s an early morning swim or a game of chess with your son – make time for it.
  • Delegate or prioritise tasks to get them done.

MIWA in the media, October 2021

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MIWA’s name appeared several times in the press this month. Click on the links to read the coverage we received:

Germiston City News
Continued learning is essential for safe driving

MyPressportal
Being kind to your clutch can save you a packet

Krugersdorp News
Five things your mechanic wish you knew

Boksburg Advertiser
Continued learning is essential for safe driving

Midrand Reporter
October is Transport Month and no better time to refocus attention on lawless driving

Sandton Chronicle
October is Transport Month and no better time to refocus attention on lawless driving

South Coast Herald
October is Transport Month and no better time to refocus attention on lawless driving

From the Director’s Desk, October 2021

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This is always an exciting time for matric students: after years of study, they are finally able to take the exams that will see them leaving school and embarking on a new journey. Of course, there’s much discussion around the next step, which careers people have in mind and where they believe the future will take them.

We at MIWA hope that a number of this year’s matriculants will consider a career in the motor industry. As a look at any of our past newsletters will tell, we’ve reached a particularly dynamic stage of our industry’s lifecycle, with developments such as the introduction of Right to Repair creating rich opportunities. 

MIWA is committed to helping our members realise these opportunities. Our focus on training means ensuring that we are equipped with the skills needed to keep pace with changing technologies and challenges, and we are constantly looking for platforms to further develop – as our support of the recent Skills Specialisation Competition (Welding and Metalwork) shows.

You can read all about the competition in this month’s newsletter; plus, you’ll find information on other training initiatives, too. We’ve included our usual update on Right to Repair’s Tier One sponsors, shed a spotlight on MIWA members doing interesting things, and provided some inspiration for the stressful year-end.

Happy reading. 

Pieter Niemand,
MIWA National Director