Kick-start your career with apprenticeships and earn while you learn

Durban Metro apprentices practise electrical work.

Durban Metro apprentices practise electrical work.

Published Jan 28, 2022


Last week, the matric class of 2021 celebrated their achievements after a tough year. However, media reports are mixed, painting a grim employment outlook for many of these school leavers.

Not every young person has the privilege of going to university and even then they are not guaranteed a job.

Experts and academics have predicted that as many as seven out of 10 matrics looking for a job this year will not find one.

South Africa’s unemployment rate is 34.9% of the labour force, according to data from Statistics South Africa for the third quarter of 2021. It is the highest since the start of StatsSA’s quarterly labour force survey in 2008

The chief executive of the Retail Motor Industry (RMI), Jakkie Olivier, said that there was no doubt that small businesses will be the ones to drive the economy in the future, providing much-needed employment. Apprenticeships for young people are an excellent way of getting a foot into a shrinking employment pool.

“Best of all, young South Africans who embrace apprenticeships can enjoy earning whilst they learn. This is an important enabler for many young people to be able to make a monetary contribution to parents or custodians, and get them from their residences to either the training institution or the workplace,” said Olivier.

RMI’s national training director Louis van Huyssteen said learners with a positive attitude, an eagerness to use their opportunity, and discipline were welcomed in the sector and young dreams of a long and prosperous career could indeed become a reality.

“We are experiencing a chronic skills shortage in our sector, ranging from motor body repair and spray painting; petrol mechanics; diesel mechanics; automotive engineering and machining; engine fitting; welding; vehicle bodybuilding, and auto electrical.”

Van Huyssteen explained that from the apprentice level, one qualifies to artisan, also called journeyman, status after the successful completion of a trade test.

“The opportunities to specialise are exciting, allowing young people to explore sought-after expert areas including colour mixer and matcher; application of waterborne and 2- and 3-stage pearlescent paint; passenger and commercial vehicle technicians; vehicle engine remanufacturing; diagnostic and fault-finding technicians; coded welding, and steering geometry and advanced driver-assistance systems,” he said.