Booking tomorrow’s talent today
The skills shortage in the wheels game is troubling, with too few young people coming into the industry. Enter Edutrans – a funky 68-page book showcasing careers in the automotive and transport sectors. Conceived, created and produced by Charmont Media, it unashamedly aims to nudge youngsters into the transport arena.
The automotive and transport sectors are hungry for skills and talent – but today’s youngsters seem to be looking elsewhere for career fulfilment, and that’s a problem. The team at Charmont Media, publisher of FOCUS, decided to do something about it.
“Education and transport belong together,” says publisher Tina Monteiro. “The sector needs informed, educated job applicants, and prospective applicants need to have a better idea of just how much the industry has to offer. There are some incredible career-path plans already laid out in this arena – and the sooner today’s kids get to see those paths, the sooner they might decide to get on board and follow them.”
The book is aimed at high school learners who are, or soon will be, contemplating their future careers. Teenagers being teenagers, they often find the glamour and excitement of fields such as fashion or advertising appealing, but as Hino marketing senior manager Ignatius Muthien says, the wheels game offers lots of excitement.
Edutrans confirms this. It set out to demonstrate the depth of opportunity the sector provides – and has already been opening eyes and changing minds.
Initial feedback has been interesting. Where “automotive” and “transport” may have been thought to describe “fixing cars” or “running a bunch of delivery trucks”, the youngsters who’ve already been exposed to Edutrans now have a much better appreciation of the depth and awesomeness of these sectors.
Launched at the John Orr Technical High School Career Expo on April 13, the book even managed to open the eyes of headmaster Jannie Venter: “One usually only thinks of one facet of a sector, but there’s definitely a wide world out there when it comes to the automotive industry.”
Venter says the school aims to provide learners with as much information about the world of work as possible. “Many of our learners have some idea of what they want to do after school, but awareness of careers they might not have thought about is important. Edutrans has been a real ideal eye opener for everyone. The automotive industry provides so many different avenues.”
Rona Mostert, head of department of life orientation at John Orr, admits she also had a misconception about the wheels game. “When this initiative was first mentioned to me, I thought that it was going to be a two- or three-page pamphlet focusing on the long-haul industry, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the actual publication.”
She says Edutrans presents a considerable amount of information in a way that makes it easily accessible to pupils. “It would be difficult for learners to get all this information by other means,” she says. “We hope as many people as possible get to know about this book.”
Mfundo Daza, a grade 12 learner at John Orr, described Edutrans as one of the best booklets at the expo, saying that it unexpectedly informed him about the various job opportunities the industry provides. Another learner said he would seriously consider the wheels game and didn’t realise the prospects were so vast, showing the value of this guide to the industry and learners alike.
Many industry players have voiced concern about the lack of interest in the automotive field among today’s youngsters, and some feel there is a lot of misleading information out there too.
Kevin Christie, market development officer for Changan SA, says people have limited views of the industry. “Many never see behind the ‘walls’ when they think of the motor industry, usually associating it merely with being a mechanic or driver,” he says. “Edutrans is such a great way to get school learners looking at the industry as a possible career.”
Paul Kable, corporate responsibility leader for Cummins Southern Africa, believes Edutrans is addressing an extremely important need. “We don’t have enough initiatives like this to inform children of the possibilities out there. This is why we have such a lack of interest within the industry.”
John Orr’s Rona Mostert says the idea behind the career expo is to give the children alternative options to universities. “We did bring in some academic tertiary institutions,” she says, “but in future we want to focus more on specific industries and on institutions that provide learnerships and in-house training. Edutrans does just this.”
Educational psychologist Dr Lanette Hattingh, who runs the John Orr Support Centre and is MD of Brainwave, says Edutrans has given her team the opportunity to do even more for South Africa’s youth. “Making this booklet available and illustrating what type of possibilities exists – this kind of activity is invaluable.”
She says the more who see it, the better. “This publication definitely confirms that ‘automotive’ doesn’t mean you have to physically work with a vehicle. I personally think this is going to grow. Transport and the whole industry surrounding it will always be around. Charmont Media has initiated and launched an excellent campaign. We’re proud to be associated with it.”
For additional information or to get copies of Edutrans, call Bev Rogers on 011 782 1070 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.