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UK to sponsor development of industry competency models for NEVs in South Africa

NAACAM executive director Renai Moothilal

NAACAM executive director Renai Moothilal

23rd July 2022

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

     

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British High Commission representative in South Africa Rebecca Tron has announced that the UK government will sponsor the development of industry competency models for new energy vehicles (NEVs) in South Africa through the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers’ (NAACAM’s) High Gear initiative.

This commitment will form part of the UK government’s pledge, announced in June, of $1.8-million to support South Africa’s just energy transition through new technical assistance and partnerships.

These industry competency models, pitched at diploma level – National Qualification Framework levels four to six – is expected to generate curricula relevant to the global shift towards drive trains that are not based on internal combustion engine (ICE) technology.

“The competency models will be developed over the next eight months and will be relevant to all engineering students considering careers that will deal with building or servicing either the automotive components themselves or related infrastructure, such as charging stations,” International Youth Foundation (IYF) South Africa High Gear programme director Colin Hagans said on July 22 at the launch of the new Yakh'iFuture online career experience and guidance platform for technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

Yakh'iFuture, which translates to “build your future”, is a new interactive online platform that forms a key part of High Gear – an initiative aimed at creating a skills development ecosystem that is coordinated, dynamic and responsive to the youth and employers’ needs in the automotive manufacturing sector.

Yakh’iFuture is a partnership between NAACAM, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and implementing partner the IYF.

The Yakh'iFuture interactive website is aimed at helping TVET college engineering students explore career options and opportunities in automotive manufacturing, practice with tools and technologies that are designed to help bring TVET studies to life, develop new skills, find job, learnership and apprenticeship opportunities, and plan a path to professional success.

“Tertiary education must be influenced with an agility and realignment as to how kids today need to be facilitated into being employable. Working together with TVETs represents the best opportunity to help ordinary South African youth find their way into a sector that is already producing high-tech vehicles at global quality. High Gear does exactly that,” NAACAM executive director Renai Moothilal explained.

Digital content related to the NEV competency models – including mini-games, learning aids and career guidance – will be uploaded to the Yakh’iFuture platform.

“I would like to recognise NAACAM for being an anchor industry partner on the High Gear project. Their leadership on the project is exemplified by the Yakh'iFuture platform that they co-designed with IYF and which they will now own and will sustain long into the future,” IYF South Africa country director Anusha Naicker said.

In noting the recent high level of media interest around NEVs and the need for urgent policy shifts to support the South African automotive manufacturing sector into one that is NEV specific, Moothilal mentioned that the country already had a “strong base set of policies in play that supports all platform manufacturing, whether ICE or NEV”.

He added that, with a few tweaks and updates to support the transition to NEV platforms, policies “should aim to capture greater local content, and reward investment in new skills and technology all the way down the value chain”.

“I would like to recognise NAACAM for being an anchor industry partner on the High Gear project. Their leadership on the project is exemplified by the Yakh'iFuture platform that they co-designed with IYF and which they will now own and will sustain long into the future,” Naicker added.

YAKH’IFUTURE PLATFORM

On the Yakh'iFuture website, students can view the parts and systems that make up a typical vehicle and learn about the artisans and tradespeople that manufacture them.

They can also explore the site to gain insider information on career pathways in South Africa's automotive manufacturing industry.

Various videos enable students to hear from employees about their daily activities and find out which job roles appeal to them the most.

The Yakh'iFuture platform also features numerous online educational games to help students build skills that employers need, along with resources to help students succeed in their TVET college courses.

The practice page on the website gives students the unique opportunity to conduct virtual tests on engineering demonstration kits to further mechanical and electrical engineering knowledge.

Additionally, real stories are shared on the website from young people working in automotive manufacturing in video format, where students accessing Yakh'iFuture can learn what it is actually like to work in their desired jobs.

The Yakh'iFuture platform also features a frequently asked questions page, which allows students to have career-related questions answered by automotive manufacturing employers, ranging from what students need to study, to how to succeed in the job interview process.

Importantly, the Yakh'iFuture platform features a search functionality that enables students to connect with platforms whereby they might find job opportunities and apply for those jobs online.

Work and apprenticeship opportunities from the Office of the Presidency’s SAyouth.mobi platform will be linked to the Yakh’iFuture platform, as part of High Gear’s intention to help address rising youth unemployment and the skills shortage restricting career options for South Africa’s youth.

“This platform will continue to evolve as industry trends and needs change, so that students can stay up to date with employer requirements. Students can also complement their studies after graduation, while accessing work opportunities and networking with potential employers via Yakh’iFuture. These are capabilities that will close the loop when it comes to industry demand and skills supply,” Naicker noted.

Hagans highlighted how the development of the Yakh'iFuture platform implemented a user-centred design process, how the user interface was crafted to be relevant for TVET students and how ecosystem linkages were incorporated from the outset.

“Once the idea and overall concept were cemented, NAACAM managed to build up the website and draw in an array of industry experts and member firms to ensure the site has an authentic South African feel and represents all the priorities and innovations of South Africa's growing automotive components manufacturing sector,” Hagans said.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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