Entrepreneurs providing skills development training
Blade Nzimande the Higher Education Minister said that the youth unemployment rate, measuring jobseekers between 15 and 24 years old, hit a new record high of 66.5%. South Africa is facing a skills shortage crisis that needs urgent interventions.
Entrepreneurs like Njabulo Ngubeni and Karabo Phemula are taking initiative by creating employment and skills development training through their business, NK Auto Repairs.
Their auto repairs shop does not only service cars and sell car parts, but it also provides learners with skills development training.
Through their business, they are actively closing the youth skills development gap. For the past two years, NK Auto Repairs has been offering training to South West Gauteng College learners and to grade 11 mechanical engineering learners from Malvern High School.
“We are concerned about youth unemployment and our goal is to help learners get practical skills that can help them get jobs” said Njabulo.
Their business provides learners with comprehensive training, from how to jack a vehicle to rebuilding an engine.
These skills will put learners at an advantage when looking for a job in the automotive sector.
They also offer training to artisans who have academic theory but lack practical work experience.
Through their partnership with the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (merSETA) they also facilitate trade tests.
“Women empowerment is important to us, and we are going to be focusing more on upskilling female motor mechanics” said Karabo.
Running a business that offers skills development training, started in 2016, when they decided to venture into entrepreneurship because they saw a gap in the market for an affordable auto repairs shop in Johannesburg.
Starting their business was a natural transition for them because Karabo’s parents had a taxi business, and she grew up seeing taxi repairs and Njabulo loved engineering from a young age.
Their passion for the automotive sector together with their qualifications, helps to make their business a success.
Karabo holds a BCom-Bachelor of Business from Flinders University in Australia and Njabulo holds a Diploma in Operations management from the University of Johannesburg, and an N4 Mechanical Engineering Qualification from South West Johannesburg College.
Even though car maintenance and auto parts selling are their core services, their end goal is to one day be able to manufacture their own car parts.
Their business growth strategy is to increase the services they offer clients. “Understanding and meeting the needs of our clients gives us a competitive edge” said Karabo.
Running a profit driven business while empowering the youth with skills is not easy. Despite the challenges, they are steadily growing their business and are excited about changes to the automotive industry act.
The changes which are effective from 1 July 2021 state that car owners will no longer be obliged to have their vehicles serviced exclusively at franchised dealers but may use any independent service providers in South Africa.
“We are an established and credible independent service provider, and we are hopeful that people will support our local small business” concluded Njabulo.