Sunday, 16 August 2009


MERCEDES-BENZ SAYS: Phenomenal success has been achieved with a three-year professional commercial vehicle driver learnership programme, which produced results nearly double that of the national average for the NQF3 qualification.

“We are delighted with the 53% success rate for a qualification, the NQF3, which has a national average pass rate of only 24.7%,” says Dr Hansgeorg Niefer, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

In what was certainly an innovative move, and a first for the motor industry, Mercedes-Benz South Africa (Pty) Ltd, in collaboration with MERSETA (the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority) and TETA (the Transport Education and Training Authority) joined forces in implementing this programme. This driver learnership programme, which has run since October 2006, was initiated with a fund of R6.5 million, made up of contributions by each of the above three organisations.

“Our main aim was to alleviate the shortage of skilled commercial vehicle drivers for all sectors, and especially for vehicle carriers, wherein we naturally have a keen interest. From a programme such as this everyone benefits. The whole road transport infrastructure benefits from quicker turnaround times, a reduction in insurance claims, lower fuel consumption, reduced maintenance costs and reduced downtime of vital commercial transportation, whether short or long haul,” explains Niefer.

One of the graduates from the learnership programme, Aubrey Molaba, related at the certificate ceremony, how he had been down-and-out, unemployed and married with two small children, living in a shack with no prospects of improving his circumstances when he learnt of the learnership programme.

“I was accepted into the learnership,” said Molaba, “and at that moment had been given the greatest opportunity in my life! Working hard to stay focussed, despite everyday obstacles I eventually qualified all the sections of the programme, got my Code 14 and my PDP licences, and the NQF3 qualification. But I decided not to stop there. My host employer, Benoni Sand, encouraged me. So I went on to follow courses in defensive driving and advanced driving. I also am now qualified as a facilitator, assessor and moderator, and am now a fully fledged trainer – a strategic contributor to my employer’s business. My daughters are in a better school, I am just finishing the building of a beautiful new house, and I can also take proper care of my mother too. Thank you MBSA!”