Skills drive needed for auto industry

first_imgSouth Africa’s automotive industry boasts eight of the world’s largest assembly plants. The country exports over half a million vehicles a year to various markets around the globe. (Images: For more free photos visit the image library) MEDIA CONTACTS • Dr Petrus de Kock Reseaech manager: Brand South Africa +27 11 483-0122 RELATED ARTICLES • Automotive boost for Eastern Cape • Mercedes-Benz SA tops for quality • Toyota SA project to create 800 jobs • World’s first hybrid sports car in SA • South Africa’s economy: key sectorsValencia TalaneSouth Africa’s automotive industry may not currently be in serious trouble, but its current situation is not sustainable, with a widening skills gap and fierce international competition remaining key challenges.A roundtable discussion on the skills needs and competitiveness of the sector took place on 26 October 2012 at Pretoria’s Innovation Hub, with the goal of enumerating all the aspects that the sector must improve on to keep the country’s spot in the international industry.Research manager for Brand South Africa, Dr Petrus de Kock, facilitated the discussion and welcomed participants to what he said would hopefully be a breakthrough for the industry as it would give insight into where energies should be focused.Miller Matola, CEO of Brand South Africa, opened the proceedings by mentioning the purpose of the discussion, one of many that his organisation will engage in to get industry leaders to speak to the public.One of the key points in Brand South Africa’s mandate, said Matola, is to continuously gauge the country’s competitiveness across various fields, and to do that his organisation uses different indices that help put things into perspective.“We believe that if you can’t monitor it you can’t measure it,” he said, adding that the organisation focuses on several indices across the spectrum of the National Brands Index.Champions of industryWith eight of the largest vehicle assembly plants in the world, the sector employs some 300 000 people of varying skills sets. The plants of international brands such as BMW, VW and Mercedes-Benz are concentrated mostly in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. The low production costs associated with manufacturing in South Africa have been the drawcard for multinationals over the years.Speaking about the work of his organisation and the industry it operates in, Barlow Manilal, CEO of the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) – an industry body mandated by the government to help lift and sustain the standard of the country’s competitiveness in the global field – alluded to the red flags that South Africa has to note in order to stay relevant.“The automotive industry is export oriented,” he said, “while some of our competitors are wealthier than us, and do not have the social issues that we have to deal with as a country.”The AIDC’s vision for the year 2020, said Manilal, is to double local content, in terms of the value of vehicles produced at the assembly plants, by 35% to 70%. Production output per annum, which is currently at 600 000 units, must rise to 1.2-million units if the country is not to be overtaken by its competitors.“A large part of that vision relates to the training we have to instil in the sector,” said Manilal, adding that it is not about the number of people who receive this training, but whether or not it is appropriate to the needs of the industry.Manilal used the example of China, which he said has an engineer for every 130 people in its population, while South Africa has one for every 3 166. This, he said, shows a discrepancy in the training sector, particularly for disciplines that require technical skills like mathematics and science.Skills shortageThere are at least 50 000 technical vacancies in South Africa that cannot be filled, because there are not enough people with the minimum educational requirements.Although the Further Education and Training colleges (FETs) manage to graduate thousands of skilled students as artisans every year through their various programmes, the problem remains that these people are not easily absorbed by the industry.They are either not compliant with industry standards or find it hard to compete with their counterparts from universities, who are able to provide not only artisan-level skills, but can apply knowledge of maths and science to their daily job requirements.In an effort to gain industry insight into what is wrong with the current South African situation, Brand South Africa invited the executive director of Tata Automobile Corporation South Africa, Sudhir Babshet, who has been part of the company’s leadership in South Africa for over 10 years.Babshet agreed that the situation in South Africa needs urgent attention, and offered a solution to it, saying that the focus on the country’s education as a whole should be in primary education, where pupils can be motivated and moulded in fields that they are naturally good in.“This way you avoid university drop outs at the current rate,” said Babshet, “because children would have appreciated their skills from a young age and grown up knowing what they have to offer their country.“Education forms the basis of the problem of skills shortages in this country.”Tata Africa Holdings, the group’s African headquarters, has been doing business in South Africa since 1994.Chief research specialist for the Africa Institute of South Africa, Dr Thokozani Simelane, blamed the current situation partly on a weakness in the government’s efforts to integrate its skills development strategies.“You have one programme that should be speaking to another, as they will be serving complimentary purposes, but neither is aware of the other’s mandate and how it can benefit its own ideals.”Serious competitionSpeaking on the threats that the global automotive industry is facing, Manilal pointed to an article in the financial daily Business Report, which reported on the recent closure of a Ford van factory in the UK, with a potential loss of 2 000 jobs in the process .“This for me is a red flag for our local industry,” he told participants, “because it means that if it can happen in the UK, it probably can happen anywhere in the world.”While the observation led to a brief discussion on where South Africa’s export prospects should lie, in light of the small, gradual changes in the global landscape, participants also shared possible solutions to the problem.Simelane noted that South Africa remains a lucrative market for used vehicles, which he said are imported from abroad.“We have to move away from being the dumping ground for these units,” he said. As the world progresses towards more environment-friendly technology in vehicle manufacturing, such as the electric car, South Africa faces the risk of being on the receiving end of what will then be unwanted stock of these used cars.“This will mean that we will fall behind, once more, in terms of advancing towards this technology.”Innovation in our approach, Simelane added, is the only way South Africa will achieve the successes of the countries that lead industries across the globe.Turning the situation aroundTo reverse the sector’s skills problem, several recommendations were made by members of the panel and the rest of the participants.Asked how the absorption of students into the industry can be made easier, Manilal called for a proactive approach by FETs.“Colleges must take accountability for penetrating the industry,” he said, “and should set up alumni programmes where they monitor the progress of former students and whether their skills are actually being used.”The AIDC, he said, is embarking on an eight-year plan that includes an academy. They will target rural schools, teaching pupils about the automotive industry from school level, so that they don’t only get to know about it when they leave college.He also called for the private sector to set up initiatives to adopt and sponsor schools, to help impart the necessary skills from a young age. This, he added, could be incentivised by tax rebates from the government.Simelane, on the other hand, said the input-output ratio for FETs needs budget changes.“We should rather take funds from the budget of organisations like the National Youth Development Agency and redistribute these to the FET-oriented industry to enable it to absorb artisans.”On a national level, asserted Manilal, the government should look into an accreditation system for schools across all grades, including primary level. This way, we have a sustainable record of which schools perform better in which areas, and under which circumstances.last_img read more

New collaboration takes Africa to Switzerland

first_img5 February 2015The University of Cape Town has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, a leading European university focused on innovation and the natural sciences.The agreement will strengthen a collaboration that will facilitate a two-way exchange of high-level ideas on issues crucial to both continents, including urbanisation, infectious diseases, material science and data-intensive research.African voiceVice-Chancellor Dr Max Price signed the MOU with ETH Zurich in January, en route to the Global University Leaders Forum at Davos. He was the only African university head to be invited.Both platforms have enabled Price to ensure that there is an African voice in global debates around issues such as health and urbanisation, and that international leaders inform research (and teaching) on the continent.Future citiesThere are already useful collaborations in place between the two universities. For instance, in the study of urbanisation, ETH Zurich’s Future Cities Laboratory has a similar interdisciplinary approach to UCT’s African Centre for Cities.Both centres bring together environmental challenges, such as landscape resource consumption, with social development, such as inclusion and housing.Technical engineering is the core of the Future Cities expertise, which would add great value to the work of the ACC, says Professor Danie Visser, the deputy vice-chancellor responsible for research.A hub of major networks in Africa, the ACC is the continent’s leading university-based urban research centre and has become a sought-after research partner.ETH Zurich is where Albert Einstein received his diploma in 1901.Source: UCTlast_img read more

Minnesota Sets 2018 Income Tax Brackets

first_imgThe Minnesota Department of Revenue has announced the adjusted 2018 individual income tax brackets.2018 Minnesota Income Tax BracketsFor tax year 2018, the state’s individual income tax brackets will change by 1.987% from tax year 2017.The 2018 brackets are:Married filing jointly:$0 − $37,850 for the 5.35% rate;$37,851 – $150,380 for the 7.05% rate;$150,381 − $266,700 for the 7.85% rate; and$266,700 and over for the 9.85% rate.Married filing separately:$0 − $18,930 for the 5.35% rate;$18,931 − $75,190 for the 7.05% rate;$75,191 – $133,350 for the 7.85% rate; and$130,350 and over for the 9.85% rate.Single:$0 − $25,890 for the 5.35% rate;$25,891 − $85,060 for the 7.05% rate;$85,061 – $160,020 for the 7.85% rate; and$160,020 and over for the 9.85% rate.Head of household:$0 − $31,880 for the 5.35% rate;$31,881 − $128,090 for the 7.05% rate;$128,091 – $213,360 for the 7.85% rate; and$213,360 and over for the 9.85% rate.Estimated Quarterly Tax PaymentsTaxpayers who make quarterly payments of estimated tax should use the above rate schedule to determine their payments that are due starting in April 2018.The notice can be viewed on the Department’s website at Income Tax Brackets for 2018, Minnesota Department of Revenue, December 27, 2017Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

Perpetual, St. Benilde volleybelles eye share of lead

first_imgView comments PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims St. Benilde Lady Blazers. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOPerpetual Help and St. Benilde shoot for a share of the lead with defending champion Arellano University as the two tackle San Beda and Lyceum respectively today in the 93rd NCAA volleyball tournament at Filoil Arena in San Juan City.The Lady Altas got off to an impressive start as they downed the Lady Pirates, 25-21, 25-17, 25-22, Sunday while the Lady Blazers trounced the Letran Lady Knights, 25-22, 25-11, 25-20, last week to likewise jump-start their campaign.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais The Perpetual-SBC duel is set at 2 p.m. while the LPU-CSB showdown is at 12:30 p.m.Macky Carino of Perpetual and Arnold Laniog of St. Benilde were also impressive in their coaching debuts.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting“We’ve set big goals for this year but initially, we want to make it to the Final Four first,” said Carino, who was the coach when CSB won the women’s title two years ago before making a big jump late last year to take over from Sammy Acaylar.For Laniog, who succeeded Carino, losing is not an option. MOST READcenter_img ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte Do we want to be champions or GROs? – Sotto Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Top riders target national crown as road cycling races get going Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives “This is a short tournament so every victory counts,” he said.In their first game under Carino, the Las Piñas-based spikers looked every bit a contender with Maria Lourdes Clemente, Cindy Imbo and Bianca Tripoli leading the way with 14, 13 and 10 points, respectively.But Perpetual Help expects to have rough sailing against San Beda, a semifinalist last year, which opened its campaign with a 23-25, 25-19, 13-25, 25-19, 15-9 win Friday.“We’re preparing for a tough match because San Beda is a veteran team,” said Carino.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

Sachin Tendulkar shares batting tips ahead of 2015 World Cup

first_imgSachin Tendulkar also cautioned the batsmen to be wary of the wind factor in New ZealandWith the World Cup around the corner, cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar gave batsmen in international cricket a peek into his mantra for success while batting in the challenging conditions and wickets of Australia and New Zealand.One of the most decorated cricketers in the history of the game, Tendulkar played in six World Cups from 1992 to 2011. The one in 1992 was his maiden appearance at the quadrennial extravaganza.”Perth and Brisbane are renowned for their fast and bouncy wickets that will easily expose inexperience. Both, batsmen and bowlers have low margins for errors. As a batsman, if you understand the pace and bounce, then you could get on top of the bowling,” Tendulkar wrote in his World Cup column for ICC.He added: “For the bowler, the good-length spot is smaller in area on these wickets and the batsman can capitalise if the line and length falters. But if they extract bounce from the good length areas, then it would make the batsman’s life difficult.”The 41-year-old, who retired from international cricket in November 2013, cautioned the batsmen to be wary of the wind factor in New Zealand.”In New Zealand, batsmen will have to beware of the windy conditions due to the geographical locations of some of the venues. The wind sometimes can be strong enough to seriously affect a batsman’s timing, playing against the wind your back lift is faster but the down-swing is considerably slow, while the ball is coming on faster and vice-versa from the other end.”advertisementTendulkar is the most successful batsman in ICC’s pinnacle event with 2,278 runs in 45 matches, including 482 runs in nine matches in India’s successful campaign in the 2011 World Cup.He spoke about the ground shapes and long boundaries in Australia and New Zealand.”The other peculiarity of grounds in New Zealand is that not all of them are the traditional round shape. In Australia, the Adelaide Oval, true to its name, has shorter boundaries at point and square leg but very long straight boundaries. As a visiting team, this makes a big difference because it affects the field positions and bowling strategies,” Tendulkar said.”The bigger grounds in Australia also result in longer boundaries. I remember when they had full boundaries during the ’99 series, I called for a fourth run on a Ricky Ponting throw from the boundary. We ran in spite of Ricky’s strong arm, knowing that the ball would take some time to reach the wicketkeeper. Even though the boundaries have been brought in since then, they continue to be long.”For players struggling with form, the additional fielder in the circle will pose a challenge as rotating the strike will be tougher. But at the same time, as a batsman let me say that if we have two in-form batsmen at the crease … then, God help the bowlers!”Tendulkar is the leading run-getter in ODIs with 18,426 runs in 463 matches. Tendulkar was the player of the 2003 World Cup when India finished runner-up to Australia.last_img read more

Tyson Gay Tests Positive for Banned Substance No Usain

American sprinter, Tyson Gay, has tested positive for a banned substance and will not compete at the World Championships next month in Moscow. This exit from the track meet means he and world-record Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt will not have the epic race most track fans were anticipating.Gay didn’t discuss the substance in a recent phone conversation to the press Sunday, where he talked about his positive test. He said he was contacted by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency last week, where they told him his sample came back positive from a May 16 test.“I don’t have a sabotage story. I don’t have any lies. I don’t have anything to say to make this seem like it was a mistake or it was on USADA’s hands, someone playing games,” said Gay, who fought back sobs as he spoke. “I don’t have any of those stories. I basically put my trust in someone and I was let down.”A few years back, Gay was involved in a USADA program called ‘My Victory,’ where athletes pledge to compete drug-free. In his testimonial video for the initiative, Gay said, “I compete clean because I really believe in fairness, and besides that, my mom would kill me! Just being honest.”The sprinter also said he already discussed the test results with his teammates, friends and family, including his mother and daughter.“They already know it is some type of accident, or some type of — I don’t want to use certain words, to make it seem like an accident, because I know exactly what went on, but I can’t discuss it right now,” he said. “My career and my name have always been better than medals or records or anything like that. I’ve always wanted a clean name with anything. Unfortunately, I have to break this news, that I have a positive ‘A’ sample.” read more

Bogus school closure announcements blasted by Bahamas MOE

first_img Seriously, Sixth Form registration begins at Clement Howell High Aug 15 All public schools and non-essential Govt offices closed in Bahamas Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:#magneticmedianews, #MinistryofEducationcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBahamas, September 6th, 2017 – Nassau –  The Ministry of Education says so far only schools in the South Eastern Bahamas are affected by Hurricane Irma and that announcements about school closures in other parts of the country will come later.  For official information, see the Ministry’s Facebook page and ignore fake notices floating about, which are prematurely closing schools.By Deandrea Hamilton Recommended for youlast_img