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Industry body to fill gaps in mobile device repairs, e-waste

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The South African Mobile Devices Distributors and Repairers Association (SAMDDRA) has put forward a number of new professional designations within the mobile computing devices and electronic waste (e-waste) industries.

These, it believes, have the potential to create jobs, self-employment opportunities and better employment for its members in the era of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).

Statistics South Africa’s unemployment data for the July to September period shows the country’s jobless rate rose to 34.9% in the third quarter of 2021, up from 34.4% in the second quarter.

The unemployment rate has been found to be particularly high among young people, with youth aged between 15-24 and 25-34 years recording the highest unemployment rates of 66.5% and 43.8%, respectively, for the period under review.

According to SAMDDRA, the suggested professional designations emanate from the new 4IR-linked qualifications crafted by the MICT SETA and a few additions from other Sector Education and Training Authorities.

Included among the suggested professional designations is mobile computing devices technician, laptop professional, accessories and peripherals professional, wearables professional, mobile computing devices repair centre professional, and mobile computing devices warehouse.

In the e-waste industry are e-waste site management, e-waste collection and/or packaging, and e-waste business professional designations.

SAMDDRA managing director Mark Mpasa explains it is envisioned to have a total of 67 new professional designations, noting the first batch have already been submitted to the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) for endorsement.

Says Mpasa: “We’ve had a workshop with SAQA, so the journey to having these professional designations recognised by the country and officially endorsed is in process.

“These professional designations will be an industry title; it’s a title that will demonstrate that you are excellent in what you are doing, and shows the level of education, experience and training obtained.

“We will also have assessments done by the SAMDDRA board for certification and accreditation, so that we can give people those certificates.

“A professional designation still has to be underpinned by a SAQA qualification, so you’ll need to do at least one SAQA qualification. From there, we can extend a professional designation – a person will still be linked to SAQA-accredited qualifications.”

Established through the ICT SMME Chamber, SAMDDRA is a non-regulatory professional body for mobile computing devices. Membership to the industry organisation is voluntary.

Earlier this year, SAMDDRA established a key partnership agreement with MICT SETA that aims to produce an immediate impact on skills development and employment nationwide.

By the time they are available to the public in South Africa and the African region, SAMDDRA believes the professional designations have the power to empower a multitude of people and generate sustainable possibilities for the industry to benefit individuals, organisations, the local and continental economies.

According to Mpasa, the professional designations aim to give validation and demonstrate that a person has enhanced their performance.

“SAMDDRA’s professional designations will have minimum admission requirements, a channel of acquisition for the professional designations…we will activate our members to actually drive the operations, training and create the curriculum for participants.

“The format and the duration for each of the professional designations will be indicated and have a specific description. Participants will also have an opportunity to explore job, self-employment and business opportunities that will come with each of the professional designations.”

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