Experts and academics have predicted that as many as seven out of ten matrics looking for a job this year will not find one, heightened by an unacceptably high unemployment rate of 34,9%.
There is no doubt that small business will be the ones to drive the economy in the future providing much needed employment. Apprenticeships for young people are an excellent way of getting a foot into a shrinking employment pool. Best of all, young South Africans who embrace apprenticeships can enjoy earning whilst they learn.
RMI’s National Training Director, Louis van Huyssteen, says learners with a positive attitude, an eagerness to use their opportunity, and discipline are welcomed in the sector. “We are experiencing a chronic skills shortage in our sector across all trades. From apprentice level, one qualifies to artisan, also called journeymen status, after successful completion of a trade test. The opportunities to specialise are exciting allowing young people to explore sought after expert areas including colour mixer and matcher, application of waterborne and two and three stage pearlescent paint, passenger and commercial vehicle technicians, vehicle engine remanufacturing, diagnostic and fault-finding technicians, coded welding as well as steering geometry and advanced driver- assistance systems,” he says.
The statistics at RMI’s disposal over the past two years show a small growth in employer registrations at the motor industry bargaining council. “We believe this is due to qualified, highly skilled and expert artisans seizing the opportunity to start their own businesses. This is very encouraging news for our sector,” adds van Huyssteen.
Not every young person has the privilege of going to university and even then they are not guaranteed a job. The 177 572 young people who achieved a diploma pass last year are now eligible for study at technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges and the automotive sector is a great place to start.