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The winners of the South African competition to find the three people to represent the country in the automotive categories of the 2015 WorldSkills championships in Saõ Paulo, Brazil, in August, had to travel a tough road with the deciding contest taking place over three days at the recent Automechanika Johannesburg.
First there were regional events and then semi-finals which took place over three days at the 2014 SA Automotive Week when two finalists were selected for each discipline automotive technology (motor mechanic), body repair and car painting (spraypainting).
“This format ensured that the winners proved they are able to handle pressure over several days, which is very important if one wants to do well in Sao Paulo,” explained the person ultimately responsible for SA’s participation in the three automotive disciplines at World Skills, Marwaan Davids, the RMI’s national training director who is also responsible for Organisational Development and Transformation.
The finalists who did battle at Automechanika Johannesburg were: car painting: Ntebaleng Seema and Rabelani Malema; auto body repair: Bongani Nkosi and Thabiso Mohale and automotive technology: Willem Nel and Jason dos Santo Maraou.
Committee and mentors were involved with each of the categories to ensure the finalists were not only well-prepared for the final, but also for the WorldSkills Competition itself.
Supporters of this year’s SA round of World Skills were, RMI and the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), which were both platinum sponsors, BASF, MerSeta, SAShows and Gondolier, which were gold sponsors and Aer-O-Cure and Sci-bono, which were silver sponsors and Imperial, 3M, ABS, Leaderquip, Dzines, Nissan and Volvo, which were bronze sponsors.
Held over three days at Expo Centre, the spraypainting competition saw experts overseeing panel preparation, body spraying and design where the contestants had to produce a replica of the entire Brazilian flag with base coat, clear coat plus polish for their final finished work this year. SAA technical candidate Rabelani Malema came out top in this category.
Body shop repair contestant Bongani Nkosi, an apprentice at Auto Body Specialists, and Thabiso Mohale, an apprentice at Dent Doctor Randburg, also had to weld and straighten a full car body. They are both part of the NF Apprentices programme.
Nissan donated panels for the competition and Aer-O-Cure were sponsors for the car benches that the prospective winners worked on. Aerocure further assisted with updated training on Mig Brazing and other new joining techniques.
The winner was Thabiso Mohale, while ABS Auto Body were the expert judges in this hard fought category in the competition.
Willem Nel edged out Jason dos Santo Maraou to win the right to represent SA in the automotive technology category at the WorldSkills championships.