Boosted Government Assistance Addresses Automotive Skills Shortage

The federal government has announced additional support for automotive business owners and people seeking to enter the trade by expanding the Australian Apprenticeship Priority List from 77 to 111, meaning it now includes all major automotive categories.

Apprentices will now receive direct payments of up to $5000 annually, with a wage subsidy of up to $15,000 available for their employers.

Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Skills and Training, says skills shortages posed one of Australia’s greatest economic challenges.

“Wherever you look there are skills gaps, with the latest analysis showing 47 per cent of trade and technician occupations are in shortage, up from 42 per cent in 2021,” said O’Connor. “Providing targeted support to increase the uptake and completion of apprenticeships in critical sectors is essential to plugging the skills gaps we face.”

Geoff Gwilym, CEO of the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC), said this was a great policy win, something for which the chamber had worked tirelessly.

“VACC has made governments aware of the skills and labour crisis in the automotive industry for years, so we’re pleased the Albanese government has listened and made important changes we hope will ease critical labour shortages,” said Gwilym.

“While apprenticeship completion rates have declined over the past decade, VACC is proud its Automotive Apprenticeships departments in Victoria and Tasmania have completion rates of 80 per cent.

“Business owners, however, find attracting staff, particularly apprentices, increasingly challenging. Boosting the number of occupations on the Australian Apprenticeship Priority List to include all major automotive roles is an excellent outcome, as are the incentives offered to business owners and apprentices. We hope this helps turn things around for the automotive industry,” said Gwilym.

The Priority List now covers:

  • Auto electricians
  • Diesel mechanics – heavy vehicle / farm machinery
  • Motor mechanics (including motorcycle)
  • Panel beaters
  • Vehicle painters
  • Small engine mechanics
  • Vehicle body builders
  • Vehicle trimmers
  • Welders
  • Fitters – diesel / mobile plant
  • Metal machinists – engine reconditioner

Metal fabricators