To date, 800 GKMA graduates have emerged as fully equipped professionals from the GKMA training centres

South Africa - The recent hosting of the international AV Alliance's annual three-day AGM in Cape Town set the stage for a convergence of global talent, innovation, and collaboration. Industry leaders, sponsors and technical experts from around the world gathered at the Westin Hotel to exchange ideas, showcase expertise, and chart the course for the future of the event solutions industry.

Hosting this pivotal event for the second time was Gearhouse Group, technical supplier and AVA's local member. At the heart of this year's AGM was the unveiling of AVA's educational initiatives and the establishment of its Education and Outreach Committee (EAOC). Charged with collating educational materials and crafting a user-friendly Learning Management System, the EAOC aims to equip AVA members with the tools needed to address current industry challenges, cultivate talent, and raise awareness about the range of career opportunities within the events industry.

“The EAOC has come alive as part of the long-term strategy that was presented at the AGM in Bangkok 2023 and follows the vision of the AV Alliance aiming to connect important stakeholders of the AV industry who aim to better their companies on a global scale,” explains Artur Kovacs, AVA general manager.

Gearhouse general manager Charl Smit is an active member of the EAOC and, as part of the educational kick-off for the AGM, invited the AVA delegates to visit Gearhouse's own Kentse Mphalwa Training Academy.

"The AV Alliance has been a transformative force for our organisation, bridging geographical boundaries and building a sense of global community," shares Smit. "Through this alliance, we've successfully serviced many international events on our continent on behalf of our AVA partners and have learnt from working with members in their own countries as well. It has been affirming to realise that we share universal challenges and that our technical expertise down here on the tip of Africa is right up there with the world's best. In terms of the EAOC initiative, we are proud to be able to provide valuable input, drawing on our experiences with our own well-established training centre and health and safety standards."

"Our belief in the untapped potential of our people drives everything we do at Gearhouse," explains joint MD Ofer Lapid. "We've seen the impact of mentorship and education firsthand, which is why initiatives like the Kentse Mpahlwa Academy are such a big part of our company culture. Part of this process is creating opportunities for our staff to exchange knowledge with their counterparts around the globe."

Each year, the Kentse Mpahlwa Academy (GMKA) welcomes aspiring individuals, primarily from previously disadvantaged specialist groups, into a free-of-charge, full-time annual training programme led by industry experts. To date, some 800 GKMA graduates have emerged as fully equipped professionals from the GKMA training centres in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, ready to make their mark in the dynamic world of event solutions. Some move on to work elsewhere in the industry, while others remain within the group, producing some noteworthy personal success stories across the organisation.

This project was the brainchild of Gearhouse joint managing directors Ofer Lapid and Nasser Abbas and is named for the late Kentse Mphalwa whose career began as one of the first black technicians in South Africa and culminated as a director on the Gearhouse board.

The AV Alliance AGM's focus on educational programmes provide a platform to showcase the tangible outcomes of Gearhouse's robust internal training initiatives. Deploying a technical team comprised exclusively of its Academy graduates, Gearhouse ably demonstrated its commitment to talent development and industry excellence. 

Through an unwavering dedication to nurturing talent and fostering international partnerships, Gearhouse continues to lead innovation and excellence, both locally and globally. As the industry evolves, Gearhouse remains steadfast in its mission to empower individuals, elevate standards, and drive change across the event solutions landscape.

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