Brian Joss –
Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and sub-Sahara Africa (JLR SA and SSA) has successfully wrapped up its third annual apprenticeship road show. The road show sees Jaguar Land Rover visiting many South African schools and forms part of its commitment to addressing the shortage of technical skills in the country.
This “unique” initiative from Jaguar Land Rover is supported by its countrywide network of dealerships. At the road show events high school students are exposed to career opportunities in the motor industry and encouraged to apply for the Jaguar Land Rover apprentice programme. Rural and township schools are specifically targeted to give equal opportunities to these learners. In total, 75 schools were visited for the road show, with more than 10 000 students being given invaluable insight into the motor industry.
This year, as part of their investment in skills development within the country and identifying young new talent, Jaguar Land Rover SA launched the Jaguar Land Rover Apprentice Competition 2015.
Targeting Grade 12 students studying Maths and Science, the students were challenged to create a propelled vehicle with the primary criteria to take the environment into consideration by using recyclable material.
Come October 30, eight finalists from Nelspruit, Pietersburg, George and Pietermaritzburg will go into the final draw where they will also be judged on creativity, motivation, innovation and their engineering insight.
The winner will walk away a grand prize to the value of R10 000 and R20 000 cash for their school, which is to be invested in a school development that will benefit the students. “Right now the industry is not delivering the technical skills required by the marketplace, in terms of capacity,” says Brian Hastie, Network Director of JLR SA and SSA. “We’ve embarked on this journey to meet the immediate need for highly qualified individuals who can be deployed across our dealer network.”
Students are also shown that the motor industry offers genuine career opportunities, in an environment that is increasingly high-tech and premium, as workshops evolve to meet the demands of modern vehicles. Applicants to the Jaguar Land Rover Apprentice Programme undergo a strict assessment process to determine suitability and aptitude. Successful candidates receive world-class training based on a UK-based syllabus, and enjoy exposure to all Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles as well as the company’s advanced vehicle diagnostic systems.
Technicians who excel in their duties also have their efforts recognised. Not only does Jaguar Land Rover offer industry-leading compensation, ensuring that individuals can be proud of their work, but it promotes the annual Technician of the Year award – an honour that netted this year’s winner a trophy and grand prize of R270 000 – another industry first.
“It’s vital to show students the exciting career path that awaits them in the motor industry – it’s an accomplished vocation, and should not be seen as a last resort for employment,” says Hastie. “Our technicians are well compensated – we encouraged them to develop their careers, think outside the box and go on to do great things.”
Run in co-operation with the Manufacturing Engineering and Related Services Skills Education and Training Authority (merSETA) and Department of Higher Education, the Jaguar Land Rover apprenticeship road show reaches out to students in grades 10, 11 and 12 and emphasises the importance of excelling in science, mathematics and English.
Students who show interest can visit their local Jaguar or Land Rover dealership to apply for the apprenticeship programme. Following this, dealerships can assist with the development of apprentices by enrolling them at the Jaguar Land Rover Training Academy, where they can study to become master technicians. The academy also accepts online applications, through www.jagapprentice.co.za and www.lrapprentice.co.za.