The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA), and the Motor Trades Association of Queensland (MTA Queensland) joined forces to address skills shortages within the automotive aftermarket sector by commissioning ACA Research to run a comprehensive survey about automotive apprenticeships.
According to the associations, the research findings will enable the industry, training providers and governments to better understand the “apprenticeship journey” to improve skill development, career pathways and job opportunities.
The AAAA said that while some of the findings show young apprentices consider changing careers during their apprenticeship, the vast majority stay in the automotive industry.
“This commitment is connected to their initial career drivers and vision for the future through their true love and passion for all-things automotive,” the AAAA said. “For policy makers, there are key opportunities to design closer engagement with fourth year apprentices to educate on options post-qualification.”
According to the AAAA, 88 per cent of apprentices have a genuine interest in developing their knowledge of new technologies and overwhelmingly recognise the importance of ongoing learning beyond the completion of their initial qualification. Students identified extension learning in specialised areas like hybrid or electric vehicles, programming and diagnostics, driver assistance system technology, or learning business skills to operate a workshop.
The AAAA said the survey also provided insight into the perspectives of women who work in the automotive industry. “There have been significant improvements for women undertaking an apprenticeship, particularly as they become familiar with the opportunities available for a long-term automotive career and the successes of other women working in the industry,” the associations said.
Stuart Charity, AAAA Chief Executive Officer, said the research shows how technicians become interested in the industry, the journey they take into automotive workshops and why they stay. “What is fantastic about the research is that it contains some very practical insights for our employers – about how to find employees and how to keep them engaged in developing long term careers and high-level skills within our industry. The skills shortage issue is complex, and this research will enable us to work with industry on solutions that will be effective and enduring,” Charity said.
James Voortman, AADA Chief Executive Officer, said skills shortages are severely impacting dealerships and the outlook for the future remains grim. “Automotive apprentices are essential, but the fact is that many of them leave the trade early and don’t complete their training. It is critical, not just for our members’ businesses but also for our economy, that we are able to keep cars and trucks on our roads and we need skilled and qualified tradespeople to do that. This study has given us an important insight into the apprenticeship experience which we can use to develop strategies to attract and improve retention of apprentices in the future,” Voortman said.
Rod Camm, Group Chief Executive for MTA Queensland, said the survey has enormous importance for policymaking. “The AAAA, AADA, and MTA Queensland are committed to continuing to work together to improve the apprentice experience so that we keep our future workforce in the automotive industry and support their continuous learning journey,” Camm added.
To access the report, visit www.aaaa.com.au/auto-apprentice-survey.