Automechanika Johannesburg, which takes place at South Africa’s National Exhibition Centre, also known as the Expo Centre or Nasrec from May 6-9, will be the backdrop for the final battle to represent South Africa in three automotive skills at the 2015 WorldSkills Competition, which will be staged in São Paulo, Brazil, from August 11-16.
Representatives of the SA motor industry will have their skills tested in three disciplines – autobody repair, car painting and automobile technology – while the full scope of the biennial, international contest will involve 50 trades or crafts this year with more than 1 200 competitors taking part.
Following disappointing performances by the SA automotive representatives at the 42nd WorldSkills Competition in Leipzig, in 2013 it was decided unanimously that the team for 2015 would be much better prepared and would make even more use of mentors and support from local stakeholders who provide their services voluntarily
The project is actually a project of the Department of Higher Education, but for practical reasons resides within the various relevant bodies of the Retail Motor Industry organisation (RMI) and enjoys substantial trade support both material and in terms of mentoring.
The strategy for the 2015 finals has involved replicating the requirements of the WorldSkills Competition for the local elimination rounds and the finals so that the winners will know what to expect when they arrive in Brazil.
First there were regional events and then semi-finals took place over three days at the 2015 SA Automotive Week when two finalists were selected for each discipline. These finalists will compete against each other on three days at Automechanika Johannesburg before the various category winners are announced.
“This format will ensure the winners will have proved they are able to handle pressure over several days, which is very important if one wants to do well in Sao Paulo,” explained the person ultimately responsible for SA’s participation in the three automotive disciplines at WorldSkills, Marwaan Davids, the RMI’s National Training Director who is also responsible for Organisational Development and Transformation.
The finalists from each trade who will do battle at Automechanika Johannesburg are: car painting – Ntebaleng Seema and Rabelani Malema; autobody repair – Bongani Nkosi and Thabiso Mohale; automotive technology (motor mechanics) – Willie Nel and Jason dos Santos Maraou.
A committee and mentors are involved with each of the categories to ensure the finalists are not only well-prepared for the final, but also for the WorldSkills Competition itself.
Supporters of this year’s SA round of World Skills are: RMI and the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), which are both platinum sponsors; BASF and Gondolier, which are gold sponsors and Aer-O-Cure and Sabona, which are silver sponsors and Imperial, 3M, Leaderquip, Nissan and Volvo, which are bronze sponsors.