Mutual & Federal and STi launch ITHUBA training

14 August 2006 Carol Dundas

SHORT-TERM insurer Mutual & Federal and the STi franchise group of auto-body repairers today (14 August 2006) joined forces to launch an unprecedented training initiative with the potential to transform the lives of unemployed youth and revitalise disadvantaged communities.

The ITHUBA skills transfer project is sponsored by Mutual & Federal while outcomes-based industry training is provided by STi at its Killarney Gardens training centre in Cape Town.

The first intake of 24 young men and women is drawn from the low-income communities of Joe Slovo and Du Noon, both areas of exceptionally high unemployment, especially among the youth.

Today, the first day of Module One of their training course, was chosen for the official launch of the ITHUBA Pilot Project. The launch function at the Killarney Gardens facility was attended by community leaders, civic dignitaries and senior Mutual & Federal and STi executives.

Trainees were presented with their Mutual & Federal and STi branded overalls, T-shirts, safety shoes and learning materials.

Keith Kennedy, Executive General Manager, Claims, noted: ITHUBA means opportunity and the project is designed to deliver an entire series of interlinked opportunities.

For instance, women as well as men trainees were selected to foster the empowerment women within the autobody repair industry. In addition, community input was sought when selecting ITHUBA candidates to secure community buy-in. It is hoped these communities will benefit as these young people acquire skills and become wage-earning artisans.

The involvement of STi - an organisation with four years training experience among disadvantaged youth - ensures these young people will receive quality instruction, thereby addressing the need for highly trained artisans in a sector that suffers from an ongoing skills shortage.

ITHUBA is designed for a win-win outcome and Mutual & Federal is delighted to be involved.

Sit chairman Theo von Sols commented: This is the first artisan training joint-venture between a major insurer and an autobody repair franchise group for the purpose of fostering skills development among disadvantaged young people.

STi worked closely with the industry Seta (Merseta) to ensure that the training modules offered fully comply with all the relevant Seta criteria in order to culminate in nationally recognised qualifications.

Trainees who successfully complete the theoretical training will be placed in the various STi franchised operations to gain practical work experience under a strictly monitored mentorship programme. This will not only supplement the knowledge they have already gained , but will act as an empowerment springboard to full-time employment within the autobody repair industry , an industry which is in great need of skilled personnel.

We applaud Mutual & Federal for giving this industry lead. They are committed to quality products and performance. You cant have a quality outcome without quality input by trained personnel.

Mutual & Federal were prepared to invest in skills development and saw the synergies between training, job creation, the maintenance of quality standards for the benefit of the motoring public, assistance for disadvantaged youth and support for marginalized communities. STi shares the same values and are extremely proud that Mutual & Federal, in recognising our ongoing involvement in training and upliftment projects, approached us to partner them in this exciting and important project.

STis Killarney Gardens centre has fully equipped theoretical and technical training areas. The initial intake will receive training focussed exclusively on spray-painting skills. It is planned to broaden the scope of the project to also offer panel-beating training to future intakes of trainees.

Mutual & Federal sponsors learning materials and clothing and provides each learner with a daily subsistence expenses and a travel allowance.

ITHUBA Fact Sheet

Objectives of the iThuba Project
*To alleviate unemployment in communities.
*To help learners become employable through skills transfer.
*To increase the number of qualified artisans in the respective trades of automotive repair and maintainance, as well as spray painting.
*To prepare learners to meet requirements of industry specific sectors.

Learner details
* 24 learners have been registered for the pilot project.
* 13 of the 24 learners are female.
* The age of the learners ranges between 19 years and 42 years.
* Learner enrolment has been recommended with the help of community leaders.
* Learners are residents from the Joe Slovo, Phillipi, Du Noon, Khayelitsha and Gugulethu townships.
*Upon successful completion of the 12-month course, learners will be awarded an NQF Level 2 qualification.
*Successful students have an opportunity to undergo further training towards a 3 year NQF level 4 qualification.

Stakeholders of the iThuba project
*STi Group
*Mutual & Federal
* Community Leaders

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