MIWA launches Short Skills Training Project to upskill members

28 May 2024 | From Arrive Alive

In a significant step to address crucial skill gaps within the automotive aftermarket repair and maintenance sector, the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), together with the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), have secured R23,5 million funding from merSETA for a number of critical technical and non-technical short skills programmes identified by members.  This is the largest funding project ever secured by the RMI or an association.
Pieter Niemand, MIWA national director, says the training aligns with the associations training strategic objective and will focus on five key areas namely: automotive parts sales, service advising, leadership and problem-solving, basic auto electrical skills, and automotive component diagnosing. MIWA identified a need among its employer members to provide shorter more niche-focused training programmes for employees and in partnership with the RMI managed to secure the necessary merSETA funding to train 1 575 staff members in these short skills programmes.
“Training staff in these areas will enhance workshop capabilities, service quality, and overall business performance,” says Andre Bogner-Botha, chairperson of MIWA Gauteng and MIWA Training Forum.
Niemand concurs saying the project's holistic approach addresses the diverse needs of the automotive aftermarket sector, particularly the needs of micro and small employers which constitute the majority of MIWA members, contributing to workforce resilience and adaptability. 
Content covers both technical and non-technical aspects. Niemand says that any of the association’s 2 600 member businesses can apply for training for themselves or their staff members.  The project's goal is to positively impact a total of 1575 employed learners nationally.
Programmes vary from two days to three months and comprise a hybrid of online and in person courses. “All theory aspects can be completed online and then final assessments will be conducted in person by a designated training provider,” says Niemand.
All learners need to be registered by 15 June 2024 so training can commence from 1 July. The project period extends from 1 July – 30 June 2025.
Members expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to train their staff, which will lead to improved customer service, enhanced workshop efficiency, stronger leadership and problem-solving skills, and ultimately a competitive edge.
"A well-trained workforce sets MIWA businesses apart, attracting more customers and assuring motorists that MIWA businesses invest in upskilling and reskilling their staff. This is obviously a strong differentiator in the market and provides customers with peace of mind whenever they utilise the services of an accredited workshop,” says Niemand.
Training will be delivered based on the clustering of MIWA members, with major centres like Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban expecting a high volume of learner registrations.  More rural outlying areas like the Vaal Triangle and eMalahleni will also be accommodated based on the number of learners in each region.
“We are extremely excited about the project which aligns so closely with our strong strategic focus on training and believe it will be highly beneficial to both our members and their customers. We are also highly appreciative of the support of merSETA. Our sector is perfectly positioned for growth and this level of upskilling will continue to support the growth and sustainability of the automotive aftermarket,” concludes Niemand.

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