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First C3 Auto Body Repair Academy graduates honoured

The first cohort of 22 graduates were honoured this year following a three-year artisan development programme at the C3 Auto Body Repair Academy in Bloemfontein, in partnership with motor body…

The first cohort of 22 graduates were honoured this year following a three-year artisan development programme at the C3 Auto Body Repair Academy in Bloemfontein, in partnership with motor body repairers in Bloemfontein and Johannesburg, where learners followed a rigorous on-the-job programme.

The Programme, which was funded by Hollard Insurance and implemented by C3 Auto Body Repair Academy, was developed in collaboration with industry professionals and is intended to equip candidates to adapt to the changing needs of the industry.

Marcia Modiba, Acting National Director of the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association, a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation, says the industry is facing a serious shortage of skilled artisans and lauds the opportunity to provide artisans with training and development to become professional spray painters and car body repair technicians. “On-the-job training initiatives geared at capacitating industry are an excellent means to develop a trade-specific skill, and significantly this is one sector that desperately needs skilled artisans. Trainees who have been exposed to the workplace have a good chance of entering the industry full-time,” she says.

Marvin Tshezi, Hollard’s head of Claims Procurement says that Hollard is proud to play a small part in transforming the motor body repair space. “It’s great to be able to offer talented young people a way forward in an industry that has traditionally been dominated by larger players, but one that is crying out for new skills. Our first graduates provided a proof of concept and a dream outcome, and we’re really excited about going into this second iteration together with our partners at C3,” says Tshezi.

The newly initiated project for 2024 will see 100 learners throughout the country receive this life-changing opportunity to qualify as Motor Body Repair and Automotive Spray Painting artisans, with the next intake in April for July 2024 placements. The project is a 36-month Artisan Development Programme that is split into two unique parts and ends with participants receiving a professional artisan qualification. The first phase is a 3-4-month Skills Programme. Phase 2 then begins with the introduction of a 32-month specialised Artisan Development Programme. Busisiwe Maile at C3 Academy says the current graduates have just completed their qualification after three years on the programme and are well-prepared to take their ARPL qualifying trade examinations.

She says 50 learners have already been placed in shops throughout the Free State, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North-West province, and they are currently recruiting for the next intake of 50 learners. Recruitment is currently taking place, and the Academy is in discussions with interested MBRs to secure their participation in the programme as soon as possible. “The focus is on identifying suitable OEM and Insurance-approved shops, as they are more likely to have the requisite infrastructure and qualified journeymen capable of providing effective training and support to the learners,” says Maile. Maile says there are currently learners who have already started Phase 1 of the merSETA accredited Skills programme, which will require urgent placement for Phase 2 of The Artisan Development Programme.

Modiba says the motor body repair industry is opening doors for young men and women with a range of qualifications they can use to secure exciting career prospects in South Africa. Boitumelo Mphanya, RMI Training manager agrees. Mphanya attended the recent graduation and says he was so impressed to see the enthusiasm and dedication of ‘our future dent and vehicle structure doctors’. He says seeing their passion for their craft was truly inspiring. “I was particularly moved by the involvement of Hollard and C3 in training and upskilling these learners. It’s truly humbling to witness companies making such a meaningful impact on the lives of our youth and hopefully the programme will go and grow from strength to strength,” he says.
“Gone are the days when the sector was regarded as dull and dreary and for men only. Today the qualifications are highly sought after. Women are also making waves in the industry, with their innate attention to detail being one of the skills opening many doors for them,” concludes Modiba.

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