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Riding the waves of change in township youth development is what Isaac Boshomane strongly advocates and this has earned him the respect of his community and the country. Boshomane is the winner of the 2018 LeadSA Hero of the Year.
Receiving this accolade, he explains, is testimony to the hard-work, dedication and commitment he puts into the various programmes aimed at skilling young people in of Productivity SA in 2016 and the Gauteng Township Entrepreneurship Awards in 2017.
Boshomane is the Principal Member of Kgabo Cars based in Soshanguve Township, north of Pretoria, and also serves on the merSETA Motor Chamber Committee. He has worked in dealerships, Soshanguve Technical High School and TVET Colleges. One of his most notable achievements was increasing the pass rate on the N3 level motor mechanics course from 67% to 94.7% while lecturing at the Pretoria West College of Engineering from 1999 to 2003.
His persistence in training young people saw Kgabo Cars qualify their first 12 artisans in 2011, without funding. He was able to achieve this by engaging with dealerships in Pretoria particularly McCarthy, requesting them to open their doors for him to use their tools and equipment to train learners.
“The artisans we produce make a great impact on the industry, such that some dealership representatives visit our workshop to observe how we train the learners,” says Boshomane. He explains that in addition to training in motor mechanics, they also sought assistance from one of the Tshwane University of Technology lecturers to provide free English lessons to the learners, after realising that the lack of English skills contributed to learners failing their Competency Based Modular Training (CBMT) theory exams.
Kgabo Cars has also committed itself to developing entrepreneurship skills for the learners they train. While they train them, they select those who show entrepreneurship potential and register cooperatives for them.
“We provide them with basic knowledge on how to establish workshops so that they are able to duplicate what Kgabo Cars is doing,” says Boshomane.
He explains that Kgabo Cars employs qualified artisans to train learners. Kgomotso Boshomane, who is a qualified motor mechanics artisan and Isaac Boshomane’s son, says he developed a passion for training when he completed his NQF level 4 training at Kgabo Cars.
Although he is currently employed by Soshanguve Technical High School College, he also assists in training learners at Kgabo Cars.
The two female apprentices he trains, Nokuthula Male and Julia Ramawela, both aspire to build their own workshops once they qualify as artisans and acquire the necessary entrepreneurship skills. Kgabo Cars assisted all female learners to register their own businesses through GEP.
As a qualified artisan in motor mechanics, Boshomane says rigorous strategies have to be put in place to ensure young people are trained in accordance with industry standards and needs. “If we keep producing ‘theorists’ with no practical exposure, our learners will have the highest levels of education only to sit at home without jobs,” he explains.
Kgabo Cars is currently training 21 learners from Soshanguve Technical High School, funded by the merSETA. Although he recognises the shortage of skills in the country, what is of greater importance, he adds, is the shortage of mechanisms to measure the levels of the skills the country has, so that measures can be put in place to close the gap.
He adds: “With the changing trends in the field of engineering and Industry 4.0, we need to re-visit the way we train our learners. I was fortunate to have attended an Entrepreneur Generator course at Wits University which the merSETA funded. The training provided great insights into artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things, amongst other aspects.”
Boshomane says he is transferring this knowledge to his learners and is also encouraging them to enrol in computer courses, an essential skill in the field of engineering due to Industry 4.0.