BMW April 2022

What is the current situation with “Human Capital” in the Automotive Body Repair Industry? 

To answer this question, one should have to look at the MIBCO Statistics: Numbers of graded employees involved in the repairing of accident damage vehicles: 

General workers: 7292 

Body shop assistants: 2014  

B/A Journeymen: 151 

Apprentice panelbeaters: 384 

Apprentice spray painters: 257 

Qualified panelbeaters: 1444 

Qualified spray painters: 863  

One also has to look at the number of employers engaged in panelbeating and spray-painting: 3660. 

  1. What do these figures mean for the body shop industry?
  2. Comparing the number of qualified panelbeaters and spray painters registered with Mibco (2307), and the number of employers engaged in panelbeating and spray-painting activities (3660), the average number of qualified journeymen employed per establishment is: 1.5 or 2 qualified employees.
  3. What is the situation with apprentices in these two trades?
  4. The total numbers of registered apprentices (641) means that every employer/establishment involved in panelbeating and spray painting, employs 0.2 apprentices – not even 1 apprentice per establishment.
  5. In your opinion, what does this mean for our industry?
  6. The future looks rather dim! Industry role players have to compile a contingency-plan to “make panelbeating and spray painting sexy” so that the youth join this industry and are proud to become tradesmen.
  7. Does the Automotive Body Repair Industry currently experience a scarcity of “Skilled Talented” employees?
  8. Again we have to firstly look at the numbers of employees actively engaged in the Automotive Body Repair Industry.  The total number of general workers, body shop assistants, and B/A journeyman is 9457.  These non-qualified employees present the opportunity of Skills Development as well as career enhancement. For example; a B/A journeyman is placed in a Skills Programme that will lead to a trade test. Similarly, the general worker is trained in a Skills Programme to perform the duties of the body shop assistant. A Merseta registered Skills Training Programme also leads to credits and falls within the requirements as set by BBBEE for Skills Development in the body shop. (See the Learning Programme Matrix p.36)

Secondly; the HR Function of the Body Shop changes. It now becomes important to participate in Skills Development so that the company can claim back it’s “Mandatory Grant money” (SDL paid over to SARS). 

Thirdly: A Skills Development Facilitator for each company should be registered with the Merseta, to maximise the Training and Development opportunities of the staff. A workplace skills plan (WSP) can be completed as well as an annual training report (ATR) by the SDF and he/she also applies for the Discretionary Grant from Merseta (R65 000), to train an apprentice. 

I want to end my first article with Sir Richard Branson’s remark: “Train your employees so well they can leave. Treat them so well they don’t want to.” 

In my next article in Human Capital Development we will look into the assistance available from the Merseta, the Government’s National Skills Development Plan 2030 and how to benefit financially from training. 

If you have any specific questions about training, please feel free to send me an e-mail to: or invite me to visit your company to help with any planning or questions you might have.