Skills across a broad range of professional industries and sectors are what drive the world economy; skilled individuals are undoubtedly critical, and yet they are in short supply, particularly in South Africa. The annual WorldSkills competition recognises talent in the skills pool, rewarding individuals who show exceptional promise in a spectrum of fields of expertise; this year, skills in the automotive sector had their qualifying trials at the new AIDC’s Learning Centre in Rosslyn, Tshwane.

The WorldSkills events were planned to coincide with the Learning Centre’s Open Week, where the technical training facilities were declared officially open. The competitors had access to the facility’s world-class technical training equipment, actively demonstrating to dignitaries and delegates that the AIDC’s Learning Centre is a fully-functional learning environment. The training technology available to the automotive and allied industries and, post the Learning Centre Open Week; the learners, is the very same technology used in today’s automotive manufacturing and assembly plants.

WorldSkills’ express aim is to expose youth to skilled careers, where they have the opportunity to further their experience and develop their skills with the right tools to further their career ambitions for the future. The AIDC’s Learning Centre took up the reins to host the Joint Gauteng Provincial qualifying rounds in three skills areas: Auto-body Repair, Vehicle Painting and Automotive Technology. Various major industry players sent teams of their most promising young individuals, including Porsche, Volkswagen, South African Airways and more.

In each category, the winners progress to the national leg of the competition, to be held in Durban in early 2017. It is during the National leg of the competition that competitors will vie for a chance to represent South Africa in their respective fields at the International WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi, which will take place from the 14th to the 19th of October 2017. There will be 51 different skills in which competitors from around the world will demonstrate their skills to their highest abilities.

The winners of the Gauteng Joint Provincial competition are

Auto Body Repair – Ntsako Vuma and Bongani Nkosi

Vehicle Painting – Livhuwani Netshituni, Nosipho Khumalo, Callum Pedzinski and Dean Cahoon

Automotive Technology – Yaseen Ebrahim, Brendon Pillay, Thuven Muniappen and Wade Schutte

The AIDC extends its heartfelt congratulations to all of the participants, and particularly the winners with a special congratulations to Ms. Nosipho Khumalo who is the only black female to progress to the National leg of the competition in the trade of Vehicle Painting. From the extraordinarily high standard of work that they exhibited, the judges even agreed to send more than the initially allotted number of individuals through to the national competition. It is a sign of the remarkable quality of workmanship displayed by the competitors, and a demonstration of the world-class standards that can be achieved when the right facilities and environment are available to the right people, with the right attitude

While the WorldSkills Competition will continue elsewhere, the AIDC’s Learning Centre will continue to work to enrich the learning experiences of those seeking artisanal training for the automotive and allied industries. The practical experience and exposure that the facility affords to those who use it is invaluable to the skills and vocational training that will ultimately enhance the image South Africa has of being a manufacturing hub on par with the world’s finest.