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Local automotive industry breaks stereotypes

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

Isaac Boshomane, the owner of Kgabo Cars in Gauteng, opened his business to provide opportunities to youth interested in car mechanics.

Kgabo Cars is providing opportunities for women and youth to train in car mechanics.The workshop, which has been operating for 20 years and offers car services, repairs and maintenance, enlists students from technical and vocational education training colleges for the work-integrated component of their studies.

“When the students complete their training, they don’t need to go anywhere to prepare for their trade test. We have a one-stop-shop. There’s the training side, which we call institutional training and the workshop side for the experience,” says Boshomane

He adds that if entrepreneurs across the country copied his model, the fight against unemployment would yield significant results.

After formalising his recruitment programme, his workshop was approved by the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (MerSETA).  The authority plays a central role in the country’s National Skills Development Strategy.

“We have two streams for apprentices to become qualified artisans. The co- mpetency-based module training from Level 1-4 and the workplace-approved training in automotive repair and maintenance Level 2-4.  After our training, they go for trade tests,” explains Boshomane.

His workshop has also trained a number of female recruits who are often stereotyped as ill-fitted for the automotive industry.

“Women can also play a crucial part in the automotive industry and they have proven that. The 16 females we have trained at Kgabo Cars are doing well and are working as motor mechanic artisans,” he says.

One recent graduate, Esther Tibane, says: “I’m fascinated with solving car problems. With the other seven women I’ve been training with, we’re breaking stereotypes about jobs previously meant for men."

Another female graduate, Julia Ramawela, says she has already registered her workshop and will work with other female mechanics.

According to Boshomane, the measure of his success is not based on income, but on equipping the youth with skills to earn a living.

“It is the little contribution my team and I are making, both in the automotive industry and in the education sector, to prevent young people from doing drugs and being economically inactive,” he adds.