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Embracing the future – our youth in focus

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As we usher in June, we celebrate Youth Month, a time to honour the energy, creativity, and potential of our young people. It is especially poignant for us in the motor industry, where the future mechanics and professionals who will drive our sector forward are currently sitting in classrooms across South Africa. Our commitment to nurturing and developing this young talent is not only a responsibility but a strategic imperative for the sustainability and growth of our industry.

In recent years, we have witnessed an increasing skills shortage within our sector. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The future of the motor industry relies heavily on the young minds we inspire and the skills we cultivate today. Competitions like MIWA’s Motor Mech are vital platforms in this regard. They highlight the enormous depth of talent among our youth and serve as a powerful showcase of the exciting career opportunities within our industry. This month on 16 June, MIWA will in fact be hosting its next Motor Mech competition at Port Rex High School in East London. In this month’s Automobil our Association of the month feature focuses on MIWA where we highlight the critical need for ongoing development and training and the importance of attracting new talent in the sector.

I cannot emphasise the importance of aligning our industry’s needs with the academic curricula at both school and tertiary levels enough. By ensuring that educational programmes meet industry standards, we can better prepare students for the demands of their future careers. This alignment is crucial for equipping young scholars with the skills required to excel in their apprenticeships and beyond. The RMI is integrally involved with various technical schools and colleges as well as the merSETA to ensure this alignment. International collaboration also plays a key role in our efforts to enhance skills development. Through our partnership with the German Chamber of Crafts, HWK Erfurt, our apprentices gain valuable insights into global trends and best practices. Such exposure is invaluable in a competitive market where skilled labour is a significant advantage. By investing in teacher training, we ensure a ripple effect that benefits countless apprentices. This comprehensive approach bodes well for the future of our sector, reinforcing our commitment to building a robust pipeline of skilled professionals.

As we celebrate Youth Month, let us reaffirm our commitment to supporting and inspiring the next generation of motor industry professionals. By fostering a culture of learning, innovation, and excellence, we can ensure that our industry remains vibrant and competitive for years to come. We encourage young business owners and leaders to join the RMI regional, associational and board structures. One only needs to look at the story of 26-year-old Dylan Petzer who is already making waves in the tyre sector and bringing his individual brand of dynamism and enthusiasm to our TEPA regional structures. He epitomises the entrepreneurial face of our sector. These young voices matter – they are the future of the RMI.

So, to our young talents remember, your potential is boundless, and your future is bright. As Nelson Mandela once said, “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.” Together, let’s drive towards a future filled with promise and opportunity.

June 2024 Automobil here: Automobil June 2024 (