Motorola addresses skills shortage in telecoms

14 May 2008 News

Motorola has taken steps to address the dearth of engineering and commercial skills in the telecommunications industry.

Twelve young people recently commenced practical and theoretical training on two programmes aimed at developing their skills in these areas.

Motorola country manager, Judy Nwokedi, says six learners have been inducted into Motorola's two-year engineers in training (EIT) programme and another six into its commercial advancement training scheme (CATS), also a two-year programme.

"The engineering programme has been running at Motorola since 2004 and the CATS programme since 2005. Three CATS graduates from the 2005 class have been employed in Mobile Devices Business (MDB), Government and Public Services (G&PS) and Home and Networks Mobility Enterprises (H&NM) respectively. Two students graduated in 2007 and they have now been registered in the new third year programme (CATS Management Foundation) and another two participants will graduate later this year. Three of the seven young people who joined EIT in 2006 will graduate this year," says Nwokedi.

"By the end of 2008, 12 learners will have completed one or more years of the CATS programme and 16 learners will have completed at least one year of the EIT programme. We are however experiencing a challenge whereby our students are recruited by our competition before they complete their training, especially EIT," she continued.

In addition to exposing learners to the world of work, programme objectives for both initiatives include contributing to the national pool of technically qualified people in the telecommunications sector, contributing to the skills development programme of the country within the ISETT SETA context and contributing to Motorola's employment equity and black economic empowerment programmes.

Nwokedi says applicants for the Engineers in Training programme are selected from further education and training (FET) colleges and Universities of Technology around the country, where they ideally have already studied electrical engineering but need to complete P1 and P2 levels before obtaining their certificate.

"Selection is based on a recognised electrical or electronic engineering diploma or degree, candidates' readiness and ability to work in teams and their commitment to the two-year programme. Work experience is an advantage and preference is given to black candidates," she says.

Each recruit is contracted to Motorola so while they are furthering their education they receive valuable on-the-job training and a salary.

This year Motorola has partnered with Telkom's ICT JIPSA programme and candidates on the engineering programme have all completed fixed line telephony training. At Motorola they will receive wireless technology training as well as life skills training, thus providing them with well-rounded instruction.

The CATS Learnership is conducted in partnership with the SA German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Motorola conducts interviews with matric graduates for the two-year programme and, once again, preference is given to black candidates.

CATS theoretical learning includes subjects such as business economics, economics, commercial law, commercial arithmetic and accounting, and learners undergo quarterly tests and half yearly and year end written examinations, as well as a final year oral examination.

Four days a week are set aside for practical learning and learners rotate through the various departments and functions within Motorola's businesses including MDB (sales, marketing, Vodaworld store and repair service), Motorola Cellular Training Institute, H&NM, G&PS, Human Resources, Procurement, Finance and Corporate. Each recruit spends three months with each department, resulting in a comprehensive understanding of both Motorola and wireless communications at the end of their training. Importantly the recruits always work with a qualified Motorola engineer, adding valuable mentorship and guidance.

For more information contact Sam Tsima, Motorola, +27 (0)11 800 7800,

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