DRIVING CHANGE: Nowra Truck and Tractor owner Ron Arthur says a skills shortage is suffocating the local industry.
One of the region’s leading trucking figures has welcomed a new TAFE NSW course aimed at bolstering apprentice mechanic numbers, saying a skills shortage was “suffocating” the industry.
Nowra Truck and Tractor owner Ron Arthur – a 40-year veteran of the industry – said the new Certificate I in Automotive Vocational Preparation at TAFE NSW Nowra could help fill the crippling skills gap in regional areas.
According to the industry’s peak body, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), more than 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 — forecast to rise to more than 35,000 over the next few years.
“We’re certainly being forced to turn away a lot of repair work because we can’t get skilled tradespeople,” Mr Arthur said.
“These courses are a huge positive if they can find kids who want to be part of the industry.
“Being a mechanic can be a challenging job but it’s very stable work and can be rewarding financially long-term.”
The six-week course acts as a “taster” for aspiring mechanics and is a potential pathway to an apprenticeship, according to TAFE NSW Team Leader Automotive Dan Severino.
“This is about creating opportunities for young people to become familiar with a workshop setting, the tools used and safety protocols,” Mr Severino said.
“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.”
To find out more about enrolling in the Certificate I in Automotive Vocational Preparation at TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au.
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Media and Communications – Business Partner, 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428.