There was much celebrating amongst those in the Diesel Fuel Injection (DFI) community in September as the first group of applicants completed their trade tests at the newly-registered Trade Test Centre at Robert Bosch in Midrand, Johannesburg.
Chris le Roux, Chairman of the South African Diesel Fuel Injection Association (SADFIA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says it has been a two-year work in progress to get the Centre registered and has been a combined effort between SADFIA members, Bosch and other industry stakeholders.
“This is a first for South Africa in that it was driven by industry stakeholders. There has been a critical scarcity of trade testing facilities for DFI technicians in South Africa. This prompted a drive from industry to get a centre registered and operational. Credit needs to go to Bosch for stepping up and assisting in making this happen,” he says.
The process involved numerous stakeholder meetings that included the National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB), the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), Education and Training on Quality Assurance (ETQA), DFI specialists, SADFIA and Bosch SA.
Three apprentices enrolled in the first testing which took place during the week of 9 September. The testing includes pre-assessments for those apprentices who are, or soon to be, trade-test ready to fine-tune competency levels and ensure a smooth sail on the actual day of the trade test. Once the test is completed, feedback is provided to the apprentice and business owner.
Sebastian Prinsloo, Diesel Technical Training Assessor and Moderator Robert Bosch SA, says the first testing was a good experience. “The standard of the applicants was high which reflects well on the quality of workmanship coming out of the sector,” he says. The testing procedure takes between two and three days depending on the applicants and the level of expertise. “We have allocated a week per quarter to do the testing and have four qualified assessors and moderators to carry out the testing. Depending on the demand we may increase the allocated weeks.”
Attie Serfontein, Director of ARA, says as the programme continues there will be improvements made. “The Diesel Fuel Injection Technician is a specialised field. Given the low number of apprentices coming through on a yearly basis it has been a struggle finding trade test centres that will invest in this field. We’re in a very fortunate position that Bosch SA have taken the lead on this, being that they’re a market leader in the DFI field but also have the latest equipment in their training centre. What was essentially a grave concern has been resolved and will benefit the industry for years to come,” he concludes.