This year’s Motor Mech was hosted on Youth Day – a day specifically selected as a symbol of youth empowerment. After all, while Motor Mech may be a trade show, it is also a career day, serving to highlight the industry’s potential to future employees and a wonderful opportunity to try and attract new talent into the sector.
It is, of course, also an outstanding opportunity for MIWA to build brand awareness – and the association took full advantage of this opportunity by branding banners, water bottles, the event programme, entry stamps and even T-shirts, while inviting MIWA members to take part. Teresa Spenser Higgs, MIWA Eastern Cape Regional Vice Chairperson, points out this subliminal advertising will ensure that our association is top of mind next time consumers find themselves wondering which workshop to use. Sister associations TEPA and NADA also took part in the event, displaying their new vehicles.
A wide range of exhibitors took part, from parts suppliers and manufacturers to tool and garage equipment suppliers and aftermarket warranty specialists. The presence of other industry stakeholders, like MerSeta, MISA and Motor-Health-Care turned the show into a one-stop-shop for everything related to the trade.
The stalls themselves were highly interactive, and it was exciting to see stallholders try their utmost to add a dash of creativity and entertainment to their exhibit. For example, one oil supplier invited visitors to stick their hands into a mystery box so that they could feel different types of lubricants, while a filter manufacturer constructed oil filters in front of the crowd
The junior Motor Mech competition is always a highlight of the event, and this year was no different. The 12 contestants who entered the competition were eventually whittled down to six participating in the semi-final round, and then three in the finals, where the winner was the entrant who was quickest to find three faults that prevented a vehicle from starting, and then finding a way to get it to idle. The competition also incorporated the Electude Training System, with contestants asking several questions about spark plugs. The winner of this section won a prize sponsored by NGK.
Congratulations to the top three winners, who each took home a complete toolbox sponsored by Autocare & Diagnostics, Ronnies and Midas Quay. Not that the other contestants walked away empty-handed either. Each received two goodie bags filled with gifts from MISA and MerSeta. “We hope that next year’s Junior Motor Mech has even more to offer entrants, and to this end are working to secure a bursary as a prize for the top achiever,” says Teresa.
We were pleased to be able to offer visiting school children a glimpse of the opportunities offered by the industry, with the Department of Higher Education setting up a stand along with several local TVET Colleges – an exciting chance for them to engage with real stakeholders in the industry and find out what it’s all about.
A very big thank you to Port Rex Technical High School, whose dedication, partnership and hard work made the day possible. We are proud to say that all proceeds from the event have been donated to the school.
“Feedback from both visitors and vendors has been overwhelmingly positive. Several vendors have already booked stands for next year, and our sponsors have promised an even greater commitment on the day,” she says.
Cliffie Jacobs, MIWA’s Regional Training Representative who not only assisted with organisation but also set up the competition for learners with the support of the school says, “We were very pleased with the footfall for the event and the enthusiasm and interest shown by the young people who attended the show. All three of the students who were placed top in the competition showed great potential. For the last test particularly there was no textbook learning that could assist them. The value of hands-on experience really showed and they had to use their knowledge and experience to complete the task. We really look forward to partnering with Port Rex next year again and welcoming even more interest in the show.”
Teresa says that she hopes that other regions will be inspired to host their own Motor Mech show. The process was very simple. All major items were sponsored, and instead of paying a fee to host a stall, participants were asked to donate an item for the lucky dip, with lucky dips hosted throughout the day to keep visitor interest running high. While Peter van Mosseveld, RMI Regional Manager and MIWA Associational Representative Eastern Cape made himself available for support, Teresa and Cliffie took charge of all other details – and, they say, there is no reason for other regions not to do the same.
The last word comes from Peter who would like to extend a very special thank you to both Teresa and Cliffie for all their hard work in making the show such a great success and to all the MIWA members who participated or came out to support. “We are a member-driven organisation and this kind of support is so critical to help attract and encourage the youngsters who will form our workforce of the future.”