Transport electricians in high demand

The auto-industry develops at a rapid pace with the latest technology that can be found in modern-day cars. For example, think about the GPS systems and the various entertainment systems that can be seen in most vehicles that drive on the road today, not to mention the modern hybrid vehicles.

Someone with specialized knowledge should be ready and able to service, do installations and repair these vehicles when needed. This is transport electricians, also known as auto electricians. The occupation is listed on the Department of Home Affairs’ list of scarce skills for 2024, due to the growth and development in the industry.

What exactly does a transport electrician do? 

A transport electrician is responsible for the installation, maintenance and repair of electrical systems and devices in vehicles, trucks, and buses.  Transport electricians operate on all the components that are part of a vehicle’s electrical system including the battery, starter motor, alternator wiring and connections.

All other electrical equipment and accessories in a vehicle, such as the lights, anti-theft units and alarms, air conditioning, central locking systems, CAN-BUS, digital dashboard, electronic side mirrors as well as seats, are included in these. Transport electricians are generally employed in auto-service centres (garages), though there are quite a few of them that also go out to defective or broken-down vehicles.

What does the qualification a transport electrician obtain, entail?

Sol-Tech has been offering the transport electrical qualification since 2023. The purpose of the qualification is to familiarise learners with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively diagnose errors and be able to carry out the installation, inspection, repair and maintenance of electrical components in vehicles. In order to do this work, students are taught to understand and handle basic electronic principles and their application and operation in electronic components of vehicles, as well as the vehicle harness.

Other responsibilities of a transport electrician include the following: the repair and replacement of electric parts of a vehicle including troubleshooting, and the repair of faulty wiring. The electrical component of the qualification enables students to install new electrical components in a motor (e.g. radio and TV systems and brake systems). A high level of skills

and technical knowledge are required, and the student must be able to work with a great variety of power and hand tools.

The training at Sol-Tech is divided into three components. The first component is theoretical in nature and provides the student with a sound theoretical underpinning. During the second component, in the transport electrical workshop, the student is given the opportunity to practically apply and practice what he/she acquired during the theoretical component. These two phases last about 15 months (continuous) and takes place at Sol-Tech’s leading campus.

After completion of the first and second components the students are placed at a pre-approved employer for 14 months of in-service training (apprenticeship). Ajani (Sol-Tech’s private job placement company) handles the placements. One year practical in-service training in the industry is required after the successful completion of workshop training. The student can subsequently access the trade test to obtain his/her Vocational Certificate (Red Seal) as Transport Electrician.

Who is this qualification intended for?

Students who are passionate about vehicles and the electrical systems in cars and who enjoys constantly learning.

Skills that a transport electrician must have at their disposal:

Good communication skills, mechanical aptitude and the ability to solve problems are important to be successful in the profession. These skills will allow the student to quickly process and apply new information of mechanical systems and give a good understanding of diagnostic equipment that will solve problems.

A good mechanical aptitude is important equipment in a transport electrician’s toolbox and will be able to distinguish the student from the rest. Good electrical knowledge will ensure that he/she can do fault detection on the electrical systems accurately through the use of computer-based equipment.

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