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The AA invests in expanding training facilities. Recognising the shortage of skilled artisans in the automotive industry, the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) has expanded the premises of its AA Technical College to accommodate more students.

The AA Technical College, which enrols up to 1,500 students a year, has experienced steady growth and is able to attract many new learners due to its training excellence in up-skilling and qualifying students in the automotive sector.

As a result, the college has expanded its training premises in Johannesburg to include two new classrooms.

These classrooms will be used for theoretical training of apprentices.

Werner Wandrey, National Technical Training Manager, Principal for the AA Technical College shared some of his views around the College’s offering and the shortage of artisans.

Q: What’s the scope of your courses?

A: Our core business is apprenticeship and learnership training, which typically takes anything from a year, up to four years. We do offer specialised courses customised to industry or client needs, and these may vary from a couple of days to a full apprenticeship programme.

Q What teaching methods do you employ?

A: The theoretical learning is mostly self-study based; however difficult concepts and operations do get discussed in class with the aid of presentations and video clips. Then it’s off to the workshops where guided simulation training is implemented to transfer this knowledge into practical skills. Reinforcement of these skills is then conducted in the workplace, where the apprentice is subjected to real-life exposure to the field of work he/she is studying.

Q: Does the college offer online learning?

A: At present online learning is not offered, mainly because access to a PC is still a challenge for many students and even more so, access to cheap bandwidth.

A: We strive to cap the classroom size at about 15 students. The AA Technical College strives to keep class sizes small and targeted to maintain a high standard of training.

Q: Do you have male and female students, and what is the ratio?

A: While all employers make efforts to increase the female intake to our industry, these are still few and far between. To our knowledge less than 5% of employees in these fields are female. So there certainly is an opportunity for more women to get involved in the industry.

Q: Are qualified students limited to work in the motor industry or are there other industries they’d be able to apply their training to?

A: While the motor industry is the most obvious, there are many other areas that utilise similar or even the same skills set, such as: Mining, Agricultural, Construction, Transport and even Government in the form of councils and the army.

Q: What role can skilled artisans play in the economy?

A: The contribution skilled artisans can make to the economy is many fold. They can be employed by corporates to actively generate money in the case of repair services; or they can maintain vehicles to optimum level within corporate vehicle fleets reducing down times or maintenance costs. A more beneficial contribution may be the SMME sector, where these candidates could either support an employer with their skill or even start small businesses, which in turn would employ others. According to the South African government strategy toward unemployment, supporting SMME’s was identified as the best target to rapidly reduce unemployment. A skilled artisan should always have the ability to generate an income as long as his skill is of sufficient quality for the market to perceive value in it.

Q: What makes the AA Technical College stand out from other training facilities?

A: We invest in people and so have a distinct customer-focus. We see our success in the success of our students and spare no effort to give them the best possible start in the motor industry.

For more information on the AA Technical College or other services, visit Click Here to www.aa.co.za< or call 0861 000 234.

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