In response to the critical skills shortage in the automotive industry, The Motor Traders’ Association of NSW (MTA NSW) is calling on the NSW government to explore alternative options for apprenticeship training.
Despite low unemployment rates, the industry continues to face a severe shortage of skilled workers, making immediate government action crucial.
The NSW Treasurer’s recent statements before Parliament highlighted a funding shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars for training in the upcoming state budget, directly linked to financial challenges in the vocational education and training (VET) sector, with inconsistent funding for registered training organisations (RTOs) and TAFE institutes.
MTA NSW emphasises the need for a robust and diverse VET sector to bridge the skills gap and ensure a steady supply of skilled tradespeople. The organisation urges the NSW government to invest in innovative solutions, particularly with the increasing adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs), which exacerbates the shortage.
Ian Price, general manager of MTA NSW’s own RTO, stressed the urgent need for more apprentices to address the skills shortage. He called on the state government to explore alternative options and continue funding automotive apprenticeships.
“With more government-funded placements, RTOs can ensure a continuous supply of skilled tradespeople,” he said.
Mr Price also underscored the value of RTOs in rural areas, offering on-site training models that reduce travel times and costs as well as delivering non-traditional learning methods that better prepare students for their careers.
The NSW Productivity Commission’s 2021 White Paper identified light vehicle technicians, automotive electricians, and spray painters as occupations on the skills shortage list for more than two decades.
Stavros Yallouridis, CEO of MTA NSW, said action from government and industry stakeholders must be swift and warned that “the fate of the automotive industry in NSW lies in the hands of the government and industry stakeholders”.
“Failure to act swiftly and decisively may lead to long-term ramifications for the state’s economy and the ability of industry to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving automotive landscape,” he said.
MTA NSW has made significant investments in its not-for-profit RTO to address the skills shortage. The association, like its counterparts in other states and territories, is working to help secure a steady supply of skilled professionals for automotive workshops.