MIWA champions job shadowing for children living with disabilities

EMPOWERING YOUTH: Pupils on site at local workshops, learning the trade. Pictures: SUPPLIED

In celebration of National Disability Rights Awareness Month which runs in SA from November 3-December 3, the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), has taken a significant step towards inclusivity by initiating a job shadowing programme for pupils with disabilities in East London.

MIWA chair Dewald Ranft believes that the motoring industry is one sector where disability is not an obstacle and people living with a disability are able to thrive.

The programme was conducted over the last two months and included pupils from Baysville School of Skills.

The pupils were given an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of mechanics onsite under the direction of experienced professionals.

Each workshop accommodated one admin and one workshop pupil and the first week of placement took place from September 11-15.

Pupils were expected to treat the opportunity like a regular job, complete with interviews and CV presentations.

At the end of their week, each pupil received a mini testimonial to add to their CV.

The testimonials reflected a sense of dedication on the part of the pupils with some waking up at 4am and traveling more than 70km to make it to work on time.

The second week of placement took place from October 16-20. Participating workshops included Robs Motors, Automed, Cliffies Auto, Stirling Auto, D&T Servicing, and Midas Bowls Road.

Automed said they enjoyed teaching the pupils, who were receptive to the lessons and showed an interest in carrying on in the field in future.

Ranft said the response in the wake of the programme from teaching staff at Baysville had been overwhelmingly positive given the noticeable interest in mechanics the programme had created among pupils.

Ranft said: “This initiative is not just about providing opportunities for these pupils; it’s about ensuring the longevity of our industry and addressing the skills shortage by igniting a love for our industry in our youth.

“Hopefully we will be able to partner with other schools in different regions as well and expand the programme so that any pupil, regardless of their disability but who has a passion and love for the sector can succeed.”

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