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A new memorandum on the task of skills development has become a positive step forward with the Auto Body Academy at SFERA training.

Company director, Lawrence Tshifura will, in the next three years, become responsible to train around 120 prospective learners in two special districts, the Limpopo and the Eastern Cape. These special areas have been defined after research in the market revealed that throughout the entire country these are the specific districts where there is the most need to advance collision repair training.

This development comes from the project manager from the National Skills Fund (NSF), Mr K Thobejane who set out the SME/Learnership programme. This programme revolves around small business establishment in the formal sector, as well as a number of identified informal business concerns involved in training. The successful applicants have been enrolled by SFERA skills development. 

“We now have to finalise our candidate list,” says Lawrence. “A full round of psychometric testing and medical assessments takes place before entering the programme to make sure we have the right learners in place.”

It has taken three years to get government backing for the skills development programme on a national basis. This constant drive will continue to grow and benefit local areas with these new upskilled learners who will complete the National Artisans Moderation Body criteria and laid down learnership. This which covers all areas and will includes: classroom theory, hands on panel preparation and spray painting – along with the latest methods of business management.

SFERA have been most successful in training over 100 learnership trainees already from their Midrand operation. “All our graduates have been snapped up quickly by the trade which has major skills shortages right now. We have to continue to help our repair businesses to grow to all the corners of our activities in South Africa,” Lawrence continued, “It’s for this reason, despite Covid-19 slowing the programme down significantly last year, that we’re now actively setting up the Eastern Cape with fully equipped and accredited training facilities to keep pace with the demand that the NSF have put in place for skills upliftment for this trade. The highest professional standards are expected in the years ahead. The period of enrolment is around two months from acceptance date for training from the NSF head office which is based in Pretoria.”

“Finally,” says Lawrence, “SFERA has been able, over the last two years, to perfect areas of training on estimation claims, workshop flow, follow-ups and professional standards that need to be kept and maintained in the shop of today. We expect to be nurturing absolutely the best body shop repair technicians of the future in this NSF development initiative. That is why they have chosen to partner with us on these specific courses for these selected students and their future recognition as excellent journeymen in every aspect of vehicle repair competency.”