A new course for aspiring mechanics, designed to act as a potential pathway to an apprenticeship, has been welcomed by a local industry veteran, who believes it could help to fill the crippling skills gap in regional areas.
The Certificate I in Automotive Vocational Preparation at TAFE NSW is a six-week course that aims to bolster apprentice mechanic numbers.
According to the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), over 40 per cent of mechanics are over 50 years old and about a third of service and repair workshops are turning away customers because they don’t have enough staff to meet demand.
The AAAA figures revealed a national shortage of 27,377 skilled positions in the automotive industry – the highest ever recorded. And this is forecast to rise to over 35,000 in the next few years.
Nowra Truck and Tractor owner Ron Arthur, who has been in the game for around 40 years, said a skills shortage is suffocating the industry.
“We’re certainly being forced to turn away a lot of repair work because we can’t get skilled tradespeople. These courses are a huge positive if they can find kids who want to be part of the industry,” he said.
“Being a mechanic can be a challenging job but it’s very stable work and can be rewarding financially long-term.”
TAFE NSW Team Leader Automotive Dan Severino added: “This is about creating opportunities for young people to become familiar with a workshop setting, the tools used and safety protocols.
“TAFE NSW works closely with industry to identify and address skills gaps and I applaud Mr Arthur for his advocacy work in lobbying for courses such as this.”
More information about the course can be found at www.tafensw.edu.au.