Intervention kicks off to help produce work-ready TVET graduates

EC automotive manufacturing industry set to benefit, thanks to AIDC project

AIDC's Masakhane Mlamla, left, Priscilla Fry and Thabo Shenxane are involved in helping integrate TVET students and curricula into the automotive manufacturing industry.
AIDC's Masakhane Mlamla, left, Priscilla Fry and Thabo Shenxane are involved in helping integrate TVET students and curricula into the automotive manufacturing industry.
Image: SUPPLIED

The Eastern Cape automotive manufacturers’ relentless appeals to training colleges to provide work-ready productive graduate students, with real-life manufacturing skills, has at last been heeded by the training industry.

An innovative intervention launched in conjunction with technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges in the Eastern Cape is expected to revolutionise the output of engineering graduates and boost the pipeline of skills required by SA’s globally competitive automotive industry.

Speaking at the new initiative’s launch last week, Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) CEO Thabo Shenxane said the initial phase of the project involved acquiring host companies to accommodate the first batch of graduates.

“But we expect that before the fourth quarter of the year [2021], more than 100 learners and 15 lecturers will be interacting in a structured way with industry.’’

Priscilla Fry of AIDC said the company would implement the programme as part of High Gear, an initiative managed by the International Youth Foundation in partnership with the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam) and the department of higher education & training.

Fry said High Gear’s TVET workplace exposure component would be piloted with the national accredited technical education department and involve engineering lecturers and students at three Eastern Cape Midlands College campuses, beginning immediately.

She said the intervention would place mechanical and electrical engineering TVET students at host companies for work-integrated learning during their studies.

“In addition industry experts will guest lecture, equipping graduates with the experience that is likely to boost their employment prospects and value-add to businesses in the province.”

Shivani Singh, commercial director at Naacam, said High Gear’s goal was a skills development ecosystem that was co-ordinated, dynamic and responsive to young people’s and employers’ needs in the automotive component manufacturing sector.

The successful development of these skills is critical to achieving the South African Automotive Masterplan 2035 objective of doubling of employment in the value chain

“The successful development of these skills is critical to achieving the South African Automotive Masterplan 2035 objective of doubling of employment in the value chain.”

High Gear’s work in the Eastern Cape is funded by the US Agency for International Development and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, a charitable, non-profit private foundation established by the Dell family.

The UK government’s Skills for Prosperity Programme is funding High Gear implementation in KwaZulu-Natal.

“The optimisation of TVET education that links learners with employers, provides industry with a direct opportunity to shape and develop the technical and soft skills they need. It also provides industry participants with a personal, first-hand view of potential employees,’’ Singh said.

High Gear programme director Colin Hagans said TVET staff and students would receive workplace exposure involving short visits and periods of observation at manufacturing companies, in addition to workplace-based experience, lasting up to 55 days in a real-world workplace.

Once identified and secured, guest lecturers will be briefed and prepared by High Gear-contracted consultants prior to entering TVET college classrooms

“Once identified and secured, guest lecturers will be briefed and prepared by High Gear-contracted consultants prior to entering TVET college classrooms,” he said.

Fry said beginning in January 2022  AIDC-EC would become the lead management intermediary for High Gear work-integrated learning implementation in the EC, with continued technical support from High Gear.

“As part of this transition, we will also lead the expansion to TVET students from other High Gear partner TVET colleges in the province.”

Shenxane said:  “The project marks a significant turning point in the value of TVET engineering courses in the region.  The effects created by the integration of future graduates and employers will make a significant contribution both to the quality of output and to our socioeconomic development.”

For further information go to: https://highgear.naacam.org.za/ or email:  pfry@aidcec.co.za.


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