Greater Support For 4th Year Apprentices Could Ease Skill Shortage: Survey

A nationwide survey has revealed the satisfaction level of automotive apprentices is lowest among those in their fourth year.

The survey was conducted by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA), and the Motor Trades Association of Queensland (MTAQ) in conjunction with ACA Research.

According to the AAAA, providing more support to fourth year apprentices offers a key opportunity for policymakers and the automotive industry to ease the skills shortage problem.

“The automotive industry is experiencing an unprecedented skills shortage and we must tackle it head on,” said Stuart Charity, CEO of the AAAA. “This ground-breaking research is a practical way to learn, and develop strategies at government, industry, and workshop level to attract and improve retention of apprentices in the future.”

According to the survey, 88 per cent of fourth year apprentice respondents are keen to receive more support beyond the completion of their apprenticeship in the areas of training, career prospects, and development.

Technology-based training is at the top of the wish-list for fourth year apprentices and includes specialisation areas such as hybrid or electric vehicles, programming and diagnostics, and advanced driver-assistance systems technology.

According to the AAAA, training opportunities linked to new vehicle technology for apprentices and recently qualified technicians is an investment in a workshop’s ability to repair, service, and maintain ‘new generation’ vehicles.

The survey showed three quarters of first year apprentices were satisfied with their situation despite challenges with pay. Youth remains a dominant source of industry new-starters, with 68 per cent of apprentices starting their career path during, or straight after, completing school studies.

The survey offered the perspectives of female apprentices, with respondents generally satisfied with their career choice and committed to the profession long term. However, lack of diversity and challenges in the workplace were seen as areas for improvement. Understanding the opportunities available for a long-term automotive career, and role modelling from the successes of other women in the industry, are where female apprentices look for inspiration and set goals for their future.

“Our industry and the economy depend on there being enough skilled automotive technicians to service and repair vehicles,” said Lesley Yates, AAAA Director of Government Relations and Advocacy. “There is no silver bullet, however collectively as an industry, we will continue to make inroads on this critical industry issue.

“For workshop owners and managers, I encourage you to download the free Automotive Apprentice Survey report and consider the findings as you work to attract great talent and retain great staff,” Yates said.

To view the report visit