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A significant breakthrough for Apprentices in the field of Automotive Engineering – ARA and Indlela revive historical Trade Test Centre

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In a breakthrough for apprentices in the field of Automotive Engineering the Automotive Remanufacturers’ Association (ARA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), and Indlela DHET (Department, Higher Education and Training, are collaborating to revive the Automotive Engineering Machine Shop – also known as the old Olifantsfontein Artisan Training Academy – for future trade testing.

Attie Serfontein, national director of ARA, says in an era where the automotive aftermarket is undergoing profound transformation, technological advancements are rapidly shaping the future of mobility. “Despite these changes,” says Serfontein, “one fundamental element remains constant and that is the need for skilled and competent Automotive Engineers.”

To ensure a steady stream of qualified professionals in the field, ARA together with Indlela DHET are working together to revive the Automotive Engineering Machine Shop for Trade Testing. “This initiative holds the promise of being a remarkable breakthrough for Apprentices and aspiring Automotive Engineers,” says Serfontein.

Serfontein stresses the importance of practical training and education. By partnering with Indlela, a Departmental entity renowned for its expertise in Skills Development, ARA aims to address a critical gap in the education and training of future Automotive Engineers.

The Automotive Engineering Machine Shop was once a cornerstone of Automotive Engineering Apprenticeships, providing invaluable hands-on experience. Serfontein says unfortunately over the years the availability and condition of such facilities have dwindled, leaving apprentices with limited opportunities for Trade Testing.

The collaboration between ARA and Indlela is set to reverse this trend. “Aspiring Automotive Engineers will in future have access to state-of-the-art equipment and mentorship, ensuring they are well-prepared for the evolving demands of the Industry,” he says.

This initiative will not only provide apprentices with practical skills and problem-solving skills but also allow them access to Trade Testing facilities, enabling them to gain recognized qualifications that are essential for a successful career in the Automotive Aftermarket.

Significantly, apprentices will receive ‘Industry-Relevant’ training which will align with Industry’s current and future needs, giving graduates a competitive edge in the job market.

Serfontein says ESE Machine Tools will be responsible for reviving all of the older machinery and of interest, one of the technicians involved in the task, Mr Wynand Van Der Walt, actually did his own trade test as a young artisan 37 years ago in 1986  at the then Olifantsfontein Training academy – now Indlela.

“The partnership between ARA and Indlela represents a significant breakthrough for Apprentices in the field of Automotive Engineering and will not only provide them with the practical experience and recognized qualifications they need, but will also contribute to Industry’s growth, innovation, and sustainability by producing well-trained professionals who are ready to tackle the Automotive Engineering challenges of tomorrow,” concludes Serfontein.

Ndlela Automotive Engineering Machinist Workshop
From Left: Chris Marengo: Owner - ESE Machine Tools; Maria Shumeni Raselabe: Ndlela - Acting Deputy Director (Mechanical Unit); James William Falconer: Ndlela - Chief Artisan; Wynand Van Der Walt: ESE Machine Tools; Hlalifi Petrus Motopa: Ndlela - Trade Assistant and Attie Serfontein – national director of ARA