BMW April 2022


 really tried very hard in my previous two articles to get employers to realise the importance of “human capital development” in the automotive body repair industry. 

Getting the information about direct or indirect changes that influence the success of your business can no longer be ignored by employers. The importance of these changes being the focus on “human capital development”. In this regard, every employer should be aware of the changing influences, these mainly being BBBEE, EE, the National Skills Development plan 2030 and the Skills Development Act.  

At this point in time all employers should be aware of the changes with regards to the Trade Test Regulations. As the Centre Manager of ITC – an accredited Trade Test Centre for panelbeating – I attended a capacity building session for trades for the Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) mid-year this year. This was implemented on September 1. It was presented by the Department of Higher Education and Training and facilitated in conjunction with senior staff of National Artisan Moderating Body (NAMB). The main theme for this capacity building session was that this ARPL replaces the Section 28 Trade Test Assessment. 

The new ARPL process is to be implemented by a Trade Test Centre. Craig Pereira of NAMB gave a detailed explanation of the new. Here is a summarisation of his notes and information:  

The ARPL mandate 

  • To redress past imbalances. 
  • To provide an access pathway to Trade Test.
  • To establish a single standardised practice for ARPL across all sectors of the economy.

The RPL definition as applied by SAQA and QCTO. 

“Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) means the principles and processes through which the prior knowledge and skills of a person are made visible, mediated and assessed for the purpose of alternative access and admission, recognition and certification, or further learning and development.” 

The criteria and guidelines for the implementation of ARPL 

  • A completed official application form provided in the ARPL Toolkit.
  • Three years accumulated relevant verifiable work experience for a particular trade.
  • Minimum age of 19 years for ARPL.

Although there is no requirement for formal qualifications, inherent knowledge, skills and practice is required by the different trades. Where a trade requires the ability to read and interpret drawings, the candidate will be required to have that ability for that particular trade. 

Where it is required that an ARPL candidate must be able to do calculations specific to a trade, the candidate will be required to have that ability. 

The ARPL process to be followed at an accredited trade test centre 

  • The sifting process: an ARPL application is completed, orientation ensures the candidate meets the criteria to undergo ARPL and a Technical Panel evaluation (desktop) is completed.
  • Formative Assessment: the ARPL candidate is interviewed and evaluated to determine gaps in existing trade knowledge, skill and practice. A “toolkit” is applied to determine the extent of the candidate’s trade knowledge, as well as to determine the candidate’s practical skill and practice.
  • A Statement of Result is issued by the Trade Test Centre to successful candidates, and the candidate can now apply for a Trade Test.
  • When skills gaps have been identified in a candidate, he/she is referred to a Skills Development Provider (SDP) to close the skills gaps and prepare the candidate for the Trade Test. This will be the task of a qualified moderator to perform the task as an RPL Advisor at the SDP.
  • When the skills gaps have been closed and proof is contained in the candidate’s Portfolio of Evidence (POE), a statement of result is issued by the SDP and the candidate may apply for the Trade Test.

With regards to the Occupational Qualification Vehicle Damage Quantifier the RPL-process to be followed by an Accredited Assessment Centre is exactly the same as that for a trade. However, criteria-and guidelines will reflect the specific occupational needs of the qualification. Estimators who want to attain the VDQ qualification may request a registration form from ITC, and once you are registered on our database, I’ll keep you informed about the VDQ-developments. 

If you have any specific questions about changes that influence Human Capital Development, please drop me an e-mail:, invite me to visit your company or call us on +27 (0)12 379 8684 or +27 (0)82 424 5557. 


By Dr Frik Botha