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The future of Blacktown's automotive industry is looking promising, with partnerships between TAFE apprentices and car dealerships supporting job prospects.
The automotive sections at Blacktown and Mount Druitt TAFE Campuses have arranged apprenticeships in up to 30 dealerships across western Sydney. Apprentices get hands-on experience in repairs and maintenance.
Blacktown TAFE student Daniel Harrebomee is a third-year apprentice and works four days a week at Cumberland Ford. "I finished my HSC and got into engineering at UWS," he told the Blacktown Advocate. "I was only there for 10 weeks because I wasn't interested, and I liked cars.
Cumberland Ford service manager Sam Sultana, who currently has five TAFE apprentices working with him, said the partnership provides a fantastic opportunity for youths to hone their skills in the workplace. "Once these guys have finished their training, they'll be specialised in Australian made cars." Mr Sultana encouraged other youths to take up the trade. "If they don't take it up, there will be a shortage," he said. "It's changed a lot over the past 20 years. It's a lot more computerised now so the younger ones need to be more tech savvy. "These jobs will never disappear - they physically cannot be done by a robot."A total of 16,949 Blacktown residents are employed in manufacturing, including in the automotive industry and the demand for fresh blood is high. There are 16 courses at TAFE students can undertake to join the automotive industry.