Lee de Sousa is back from Motus Technical Academy to talk to us about apprenticeships, trade qualification testing and why a career in the automotive industry is a great choice! A technical trainer of twenty-two years, Lee de Sousa started his career as an apprentice at Lindsay Saker. From there, Lee worked for the likes of Audi and Audi & VW when they were one entity. When the two brands were separated, Lee enjoyed various roles within Audi. From being a Motor Mechanic, Foreman, Service Advisor and then a service manager. Eventually, an opportunity within the training division came up where Lee says he discovered his passion.
In Part 2, we are talking more about the Learner experience. Check out Part 1 of this conversation, here.
Firstly, can you remind us which trades are offered at the Motus Technical Academy?
We offer seven trades and do trade testing on all of them. They are;
- Automotive body repair
- Automotive spray painter
- Diesel mechanic
- Motor mechanic
- Automotive electrician
- Motorcycle and Scooter mechanic
- VDQ( vehicle damage quantifier )
How many students do you currently have?
In automotive body repair there are 89 [students], and in spray painting, 104 (of which, around 20 to 25 are female).
For more articles on Women in MBR, visit this page.
How important is the Learner interface with the industry?
Spray painting & panel beating is a hands-on trade! Skills are applied in the workshop to ensure that the learner achieves maximum workshop exposure on different tasks in both trades.
What job opportunities are available locally and internationally to artisans?
Locally – there is a great demand for spray painters & automotive body repairers. This is because of the standard of workmanship that is required in order to meet the brand manufactures factory standards.
Internationally, there is great demand for artisans (both in spray painting and automotive body repair) as it is so specialised. There are many opportunities. The actual qualification is called the Red Seal qualification and is recognised internationally. It is only awarded after the candidate has written their trade test and qualified. After which, they can choose to work across the globe! This certificate can also be awarded to candidates that are going through the ARLP groups.
What is the recruitment process for training like?
Being an artisan is not all about being academic. It is a skill. In our recruitment process, we do psychometric testing including, mental alertness, mechanical insight, English language and a small practical part, just to see what the candidate’s ability to take a tool and apply it is.
We look at the skills! (And personally) I am very passionate about giving people opportunities.
What attributes are important to be successful as a motor body repair artisan?
The attributes most important to success in the industry are a passion for the trade, commitment and discipline. It does not matter what challenges they face, artisans will pull through with these key ingredients.
Another essential attribute is time management. All tasks, from training to the workshop are measured by how productive an artisan is in a given amount of time. We focus on timing during the practical tasks, which candidates are expected to perform within a given time frame. That period is the exact time frame a candidate will be given in the trade test.
What are the minimum requirements to enter training as an artisan?
The candidate must have a Grade 9 certificate. There are no compulsory school subjects but we recommend Maths, Physical science, Technical drawing and theory (N1 or N2 … that will be a big bonus for the candidate grasping the material in the curriculum).
Are you seeing more women entering the sector?
Yes, especially in the trade of spray painting. The reason seems to be that females pay more attention to detail. This is critical when it comes to colour mixing, an integral part of the trade. Many of the workshops today use qualified artisans and women are managing the mixing room. Women have amazing skills and the ability to do that (role).
Our technical trainer is a woman, her name is Motswaki Choppo – qualified spray painter, facilitator, assessor and moderator. Ms Choppo is currently preparing to do a second trade in panel beating. Having both of these qualifications opens up international doors to the industry and is a massive advantage.
Finally, why would you say a career in the automotive industry is an exciting choice for young people?
For qualified artisans, many different doors of opportunity can open where they can progress further into their careers.
You can always move from one opportunity to another and take the knowledge and skill that you have gained which will be seen as adding value.
There are potential career paths in Vehicle and engine design, Motor racing, Marketing, Manufacturing and Training & Development.
For more information or to enrol for training or a trade test, visit the Motus Technical Academy website.
Missed part 1 of the interview, here.