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South Coast Herald | 20 July 2023

It takes three to four years for an apprentice to earn an artisan certificate.

The motor industry provides many opportunities for skilled artisans. Women are also making their mark as they embrace what is on offer.

“Anyone can succeed in the learning opportunities we offer. You need passion, commitment and discipline,” says Jacques Viljoen, national director of SAMBRA (the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).

Viljoen encourages the youth to take control of their future by being open to new opportunities in South Africa.

Apprentices have a good chance of entering the industry full-time,” says Viljoen.

Results of a recent survey by Remchannel HR Quarterly, show there is still a dire need for young artisans in a host of different disciplines in South Africa. The survey showed that only 0,6% of qualified artisans are under 25 years of age! The government has a goal of 30 000 artisans qualifying annually.

The motor body repair sector currently has 1 405 registered automotive body repairers and 932 spray painters. In terms of apprentices, there are currently 270 registered automotive body repairer apprentices and 200 spray painters. “There is definitely scope to increase these numbers,” says Viljoen.

“Training your own apprentices is not only important for business sustainability, it has benefits for business owners, with a measurable return on investment (ROI). One only has to measure the attended, sold and worked hours according to the merSETA ROI,” says Viljoen.

You can study the detailed merSETA report here.

“An apprenticeship combines theory, practical work and workplace experience in a chosen trade field. With a listed trade, such as panel beating or spray-painting, it ends in a trade test and you receive an artisan certificate of competence,” explains Viljoen.

“It usually takes three to four years to achieve artisan status, after which employment is generally guaranteed. The National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB) oversees trade tests and also works closely with the merSETA and the QCTO.”

Viljoen says employers should make use of the current transition period between now and 30 June 2024 to enrol learners (including apprentices) for CBMT, time-based, and learnership qualifications. They can then utilise the teach-out period to complete the training (three to four years depending on the trade) and get the apprentice trade test ready.

“Don’t forget that most motor body repair (MBR) business owners started by acquiring a trade and doing the relevant apprenticeship. So if you wish to own your own MBR business one day, an apprenticeship is where you start,” he says.

Viljoen advises those interested in an apprenticeship to speak to qualified artisans and visit their workplaces to see what the job entails. They can also contact their local TVET college advisory centre or SAMBRA for guidance (

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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