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In the run up the WorldSkills Competition to be held next year in Saõ Paulo, Brazil, the RMI and its partners will be championing local skills at an exciting, three-day competition to be held this month at South African Automotive Week…
The RMI is at the forefront of a campaign to champion the automotive trade skills of the country’s youth at South African Automotive Week, to be held this month at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.
Simultaneously, the organisation and its like-minded partners are looking to help to reduce the age of artisans who enter automotive industry trades by promoting the aims of an annual international WorldSkills Competition, which is scheduled to be held next year in Saõ Paulo, Brazil.
The WorldSkills event – which aims to attract young people to careers in the automotive industry – started in Spain in 1946. At the time, the country was in great need of capable artisans and José Antonio Elola Olaso, who was director general of a youth organisation called OJE, devised a plan of action.
In order to deliver expertise, he said, it would be necessary to convince youngsters – as well as their parents, teachers and prospective employers – that the future depended on an effective vocational training system.
Olaso chose Francisco Albert-Vidal to further develop the idea together with Antonio Almagro Diaz and Faustino Ramos Diaz. A year later, with the participation of around 4 000 apprentices from a dozen mechanical trades, Spain held its first national vocational skills competition.
A number of international observers were invited to the inaugural event and saw the benefits that Olaso’s idea could bring to their own countries. As a result, in 1953, apprentices from Germany, Great Britain, France, Morocco and Switzerland were invited to take part in the competition.
Since then, the event has grown in leaps and bounds. Nowadays, if you visit a WorldSkills Competition, you will see proud, young, skilled workers from more than 70 countries or regions demonstrating their knowledge and practical know-how, eagerly interacting with counterparts from all over the world.
In spite of language barriers, the experience the participants gain in representing their nations is likely to forever influence professional, personal and social aspects of their lives.
These days, WorldSkills events are designed not only to reward excellence displayed by participating countries or regions, but also to encourage each country to add impetus to domestic vocational training systems by accessing and benefitting from a global pool of knowledge.
It was Vidal who said: “Fill youth with enthusiasm through special action! Convince young people’s parents, trainers and company chiefs that a promising future is possible only through good vocational training.”
WorldSkills International provides a unique means of exchanging and comparing world-class competency standards in the industrial trades and service sectors of the global economy. The continued growth of the WorldSkills Competition shows that traditional trade and craft skills – along with the newer technology multi-skilled vocations – make an essential contribution to the economic and social well-being of people across the world.
As a free standing, non-political organisation, WorldSkills International provides a cost effective means for international government and industry cooperation in achieving higher standards and status for vocational education and training on a global basis.
In 1990, South Africa joined the organisation as a member country and has since competed annually in the WorldSkills event. Last year, the RMI was approached by merSETA to act as custodian for three automotive-related skills applications – Automotive Technology (vehicle maintenance and repair); Automotive Technology (panel beating); and Car Painting (Spray-painting). With the help of industry partners, a team was selected to compete in the international competition at Leipzig, Germany.
Now, for the second year in succession, the RMI has been asked to partner with like-minded industry associates to select and prepare a team of three apprentices aged between 17 and 22-years-old to represent South Africa at the 2015 competition which will be held in Saõ Paulo, Brazil.
The RMI’s partners in the initiative are Barloworld Automotive, BASF, Bidvest Automotive, CMH through Mitsubishi Menlyn, Gondolier, Imperial, merSETA, Nissan South Africa, Northern Auto, SAMBRA, Santam, 3M, Ultratune and Volvo South Africa.
The organisation and its confederates will stage an automotive National Skills Competition this month at South African Automotive Week (SAAW) – making history by holding, for the first time as a competing nation in the WorldSkills Competition, a national contest at an industry event that replicates the ambiance and setting of that of the international counterpart.
The promotional slogan used by the RMI and its partners is By South Africans, for South Africa. The intention is to use both competitions as a promotional tool to attract members of the young generation take up trade careers in the automotive industry.
The RMI’s profile of SAAW competition says it all: “As the leading employers’ organisation in the South African automotive aftermarket with a close affinity to manufacturing, the RMI cares about our industry’s future skills base.
“That is why the organisation has joined with like-minded industry partners to showcase an exhibition that is conjoined with the national WorldSkills Competition and themed Creating an Awareness of Automotive Industry Careers.
“The purpose of the exhibition is to create an understanding for the public – and particularly the country’s youth – regarding the profile and skills required by the automotive industry at large. The event allows the RMI and its partners to interact with local and global players in the automotive industry by displaying a collective social profile and elevating the status of trade career awareness through the exciting three-day national competition.”
Vehicle painting, auto-body repairs and automotive technology (automotive mechanics) are again the chosen trade categories. At SAAW, they will serve as a means of finding suitable competitors within the stipulated age bracket to represent South Africa in similar automotive skills at the international event.
One of the aims of the national competition is to help to reduce the age of automotive artisans in South Africa – from a current average of 40-years-old – by encouraging 17- to 22-year-olds to take up careers as artisans. Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the RMI, says the aim of the local drive is to highlight for school leavers the benefits of pursuing automotive apprenticeships.
In addition, the skills drive at SAAW supports the Decade of the Artisan declared by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, as well as the slogan of support offered by the department’s deputy minister, Mduduzi Manana: “It’s cool to be a 21st Century artisan.”
Following support by radio stations under the control of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), as well as publicity received through other media outlets, interest in the competition has been extremely positive – the number of entrants for the SAAW preliminaries more than doubling in two categories compared with that in the run-up to the Leipzig event.
The following table indicates that the statistics speak for themselves:
Entries received- 2013 vs 2015: Automotive Technology
Leipzig 2013 Saõ Paulo 2015
9 (2 females) 16 (2 females)
- For more information regarding WorldSkills International, SAAW or the RMI, please visit www.worldskills.org; www.saaw.co.za; or www.rmi.org.za. SAAW takes place at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, from October 13 to 17.