Since its establishment in 1930, the Automobile Association (AA) of South Africa has earned itself a well-deserved reputation as the champion of SA motorists and travellers, and the leading provider of motoring assistance and services.
What few people realise, however, is that the AA’s ability to build this enviable reputation has been enhanced over the years by the fact that it is a non-profit company (NPC). According to Kruben Bennie, Product Manager at the AA, this has allowed the organisation to focus less on growing its bottom line, and more on ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its members.
“The fact that the AA is a NPC comes as something of a surprise to most South Africans, but it has been integral to the stellar growth and success achieved by the association over the past 82 years,” Bennie explains, “mainly because it has allowed us to stay 100% committed to our core mission of championing the rights, and serving the interests, of SA motorists.”
According to Bennie, for this reason the vast majority of any income derived by the organisation through its subscriptions and business activities is ploughed back into ensuring a better motoring experience for its members – a key enabler of which, is the training of world-class motor mechanics and technicians.
“Since 2006, the AA has operated its own Technical College,” he explains, “which is mandated to develop excellent mechanics and bridge the gap in the enormous skills shortage that the country is currently facing.”
He explains that in addition to ensuring that the AA always has access to its own pool of talented motor vehicle technicians, the AA Technical College is also helping to address the motor industry’s skills shortage through a range of apprenticeships and trade testing facilities for various organisations and stakeholders.
“The partnership between our AA Technical College and the Automotive Industry Development Centre is also helping to create greater depth of talent in South Africa by training mechanics and entrepreneurs in the rural and informal sectors,” he points out, “and as these qualified individuals establish small businesses in communities across the country, they will, in turn, become employers and trainers themselves, passing on the skills they have learnt from the AA and contributing to keeping South Africa’s economic growth on the move.”
Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1180