BASF Coatings Services recently onboarded 10 BASF apprentices that were placed in Glasurit body shops across Gauteng. The welcome took place at the Refinish Competence Centre in Midrand; BASF’s state of the art training facility.

The apprentices were welcomed by numerous seniour BASF delegates including Benoit Fricard, managing director of BASF South Africa and Sharmila Govind, BASF head of human resources Market Area Africa. Words of encouragement were shared and the apprentices expressed their joy and excitement on embarking on this journey.

According to STATS SA, the unemployment rate among young people is around 38%, implying that more than one in every three young people in the labour force currently do not have a job. STATS SA goes on to say some of the young people have become discouraged with the labour market and are also not building on their skills base through education and training.

The sum of this is evident in the automotive refinish industry which continues to grapple with the shortage of qualified artisans such as spray-painters; a phenomenon all too familiar in most skilled trade industries.

To address this challenge head-on, BASF enlisted NF Apprentices, a non-profit organisation that assists body repair shops with administering apprenticeship programmes, and enrolled the passionate youngsters.

Industry thought leader, Eddie da Silva was also present and shared his journey in the refinish trade and served as a great inspiration for the future spray-painters.

Neo Mutshabela who also began his journey in the refinish trade through NF Apprentices, gave an account of the impact that the programme has had in his life.

The apprentices received their PPE starter-pack from BASF and will be mentored by BASF’s consultants and technicians in partnership with the shops until they qualify for their spray painting certificate; a three-year programme.

BASF Coatings Services is also involved in other numerous apprenticeship programmes across the country in conjunction with other training schools such as First Car Care College and Central Competent Centre.