Mutual & Federal to roll out Motor Engineer Internship Programme based on successful pilot

Mutual & Federal has recently completed a pilot Motor Engineer Internship Programme, which Basetsana Magano, Executive General Manager: Group Human Resources, describes as a resounding success, laying the foundation for further such programmes to be offered on a regular basis. The five month pilot internship, held from 1 June to 31 October last year, was attended by five motor engineers, comprising four external candidates and one Mutual & Federal employee.

Mutual & Federal currently offers three other internship programmes – IT, Claims, and Insurance Processor/Underwriting internships. Other programmes are a Fast Track Trainee Business Development Consultant Programme and a Financial Sector Charter (FSC) Learnership programme. These initiatives fall under the banner of Employment Equity Learning Schemes and are specifically reserved for Employment Equity candidates.

Magano says the objective of these programmes is to create a talent pool from which Mutual & Federal can draw and in doing so contribute to alleviating the country’s skills shortage as well as meeting pre-defined organisational EE targets. “The internships, with specific reference to the Motor Engineer Internship Programme, also address the skills need and shortage of motor engineers in the industry, asidentified in the INSETA Sector Skills Plan.”

The first two months of the MotorEngineer Internship Programme were spent in a simulated, lecture-based environment. This phase involved product training (consisting of credit-bearing skills programmeswhich are aligned to unit standards of the NQF Level 4 Short Term Insurance Qualification) and systems training with the Mutual & Federal Learning & Development department. The technical on-the-job training (specific processes and procedures) was conducted bythe Mutual & Federal Motor Solutions Department.The internsalso underwent behavioural training, equipping them with basic interaction and people skills required when dealing withclients andpanel beaters.

Months three and four were dedicated to practical training and the five interns were allocated to the branches in Johannesburg, Roodepoort and Pretoria. Each learner was placed with a senior motor engineer, who served asmentor and coach throughout the duration of the programme.A significant amount of timewas spent shadowing insurance assessors, as they visited clients and made their rounds to the panel beaters. The learners observed and at times were allowed to conduct motor assessments themselves. Some of the learners who did not have a motor background, spent time at a panel repair shop to gain relevant experience, and then returned to the branch to resumetheir training.

The final month of the programme was a probation period and interns were afforded the opportunity to spend time alone on the road, being allocated their own assessments yet being closely monitored to ascertain whether they could apply all they had learned in the first four months. “The candidates reallycame through withflying colours and the four who were not with Mutual & Federal prior to the programme were offered permanent positions in selected regions with effect from 1 November 2008,” says Magano. “Alan Ditshetelo, who did not have prior motor experience before joining the programme, was awarded the”Top Achiever”award for the best overall student. Based on the very positive outcome of the pilot Motor Engineer Internship Programme, we have already made plans toimplement the second intake of intern motor engineers for 2009.”

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