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Twenty one years ago, Dr Frik Botha and Deon de Villiers had a dream and desire to train the deaf for jobs in the body shop industry. And so it was a proud moment to see the third set of students graduate late last year as Skilled General Workers in body repair and spraypainting. The testament for these students is that all have full-time employment at their collision repairers they have trained with during the practical component of the Skills Programmes, as they are such amazing workers and people in general.

Attending a graduation ceremony for the deaf is certainly something very different. Firstly it’s so quiet and the normal humdrum of background chatter simply isn’t there. Secondly it’s actually an enormous thank you to their families, who in many cases are headed by single hearing parents sacrificing a great deal to make sure that their children have a secure future.

Parents, aunts, uncles and many others were up bright and early on the day and had travelled from far away to join their families to celebrate this amazing milestone that they have achieved. These learners started their training with only the financial assistance of the SASSA-grant, parents uncles and aunts that are willing to contribute with monies needed for transport and food.

IT-C are a new-found family to these learners as they offer support across the board emotionally and with administration on behalf of the student and body shop. They make sure that each business who have their learners at their facility enjoy maximum BBBEEE points. The paperwork as you can imagine is daunting, but IT-C make it a stress- free procedure handling the administration every step of the way. Even after the student has started with employment at a body shop they still touch base to make sure they are doing well.

Darren Helps, who has an excellent name in the collision repair industry, helps at IT-C with assessing. He is a qualified Merseta assessor and moderator and thoroughly enjoys his time at IT-C when he is needed.

This year has seen more students enrol with body shops holding places open in anticipation. There is talk of a few students joining the programme from Botswana later this year and the National Institute for the Deaf (NID).

Lientjie van Rensburg, chief training officer at the NID was on hand all the way from Worcester in the Cape to see this successful project bearing fruit. A special word of thanks to the Merseta and NID who established a winning partnership.

The focus at IT-C for 2019 is to get more involved with the schools as once these hearing-impaired learners turn 18 and leave school, they simply vanish without a trace.

The complete IT-C team and Lientjie van Rensburg, chief training officer for the National Institute for the Deaf were on hand to celebrate with the third class of graduates on their very special day. They are now qualified in body repair as well as spray painting and will fill a much needed skills gap in the collision repair industry.

“There is a huge gap and need to find these people and to help them get jobs and opportunities that without care and training go unafforded,” said Dr Frik. “We want to help in getting these men and woman registered so that they can have the best chance in life at employment and dignity. Isn’t that what we all want for our children?”

The passionate team at IT-C is growing and now comprises of Lize, who is the project leader and administration giant. Sibusisu, who has himself come through the training programme and is hearing impaired, is IT-C’s facilitator. He is always willing to bridge the gap between the hearing and non-hearing worlds and is an absolute asset to the group. Frik junior is at the helm and is extremely patient and thorough with monitoring training at the facility and in the body shops, as well as juggling many other tasks. A vision of this programme being available nationwide is also part of the ever-growing plan. In an industry desperate for skilled people, this sounds like a winning formula.

Contact IT-C on +27 (0)12 379 8684 or email info@it-c.co.za to find out how to get involved as a sponsor or to place a learner within your business.