The Future Of Transport - Business Media MAGS

Sunday Times Skills

The Future Of Transport

Megan Ellis speaks to the CEO of the Transport Education Training Authority about the skills needed for logistics in the future.

Technology is changing every industry and it is no different for transport and logistics. But to remain competitive in an industry that literally spans borders, South Africa will need to make sure we have the right skills. We spoke to Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) CEO Maphefo Anno-Frempong to find out just what skill requirements are emerging in this rapidly transforming sector.

What is TETA and what is its mandate? 

TETA is one of the sectoral education training authorities (SETA) established to enable and support skills development. TETA’s focus is on the transport sector, with its mandate cutting across road passenger, rail, maritime, aerospace, freight handling, forwarding and clearing, taxi and road freight.


TETA funds different initiatives every year including learnerships, bursaries, internships, skills programmes, artisan training, candidacy, cadetships, TVET and HET student placement and adult education training.

What are the current major career opportunities in the industry? 

There’s a demand for electrical engineers, diesel mechanics, supply and distribution managers, welders, rail and road freight handlers, qualified heavy vehicle drivers and electromechanicians.

How are the changes in the industry making way for new types of careers?

Like other sectors, the transport sector is facing rapid technological changes that may render some skills obsolete and result in growing demand for new skills. Employers are increasingly demanding technologically inclined skills.

Most transport sector businesses compete on a global scale and need to remain current in the use of technological solutions. Moreover, the transport sector is embracing the move towards a green economy. Though some occupations may remain the same, the skills required will certainly change.

What skills will the transport industry need employees to have in the near future?

The transport sector is heavily influenced by innovation and international trends. It is widely accepted that new advancements in technology are shaping the direction of skills required.

Technology has led to new players in the sector, seen through the success of services such as Uber and Taxify, as well as the use of GPS tracking for fleet monitoring and management.

It is important that transport sector skills planning takes into account emerging and future technological trends in designing skills development interventions.

How are transport training schools preparing to train people in these new skills? 

Post-school associations are made aware of demands for new skills. This process is done through consultation with relevant structures and the annual SSP updates and workshops. Training providers are also part of TETA consultation structures in the curriculum development process.

What skills are scarce in the industry and what future skills shortages may appear?

There are skills gaps across different occupations, which include clerical support workers, elementary occupations, managers, plant and machine operators and assemblers.

With the advent of green economy, the new skills required will include green IT technology, emission control handling skills and heavy vehicle emission systems repair procedures for biofuels. Skills in motor vehicle emission control legislation and standards, motor vehicle green standards (traffic officers) and green vehicle component repair will also be needed.

In the aviation sector, are technologies such as drones expected to create new professions? 

The remotely piloted aircrafts industry (RPAI) is growing rapidly. The South Africa Civil Aviation Association issues licences for commercial, corporate, non-profit and private RPAI operations. New career opportunities exist across multiple industries such as security services, logistics and engineering.

Which sub-sector in the industry is changing the most?

The road freight and road passenger subsectors will be the most affected by green economy technologies. Logistic operations will be heavily affected by the Fourth Industrial Revolution – which is already driving most companies to embrace new technologies that fuse the physical, digital and biological worlds. This includes artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet of things, autonomous vehicles and 3D printing.

There’s also a need for management skills, project management skills, and knowledge of government and industry regulations. Our stakeholders regard regulations as key change-drivers of skills demand and are thus seen as having huge implications on skills  planning.

Did you know?

Companies in countries such as the US are already developing game-changing transport solutions – from drones that deliver groceries to consumers to taxi services that use autonomous vehicles.

Image: ©Shutterstock - 761865583

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