The Queensland Government recently released the discussion paper Skills for Queensland for public consultation. This discussion paper invited Queenslanders to have their say on how to build a Queensland vocational education and training (VET) sector to deliver job-ready graduates for current and emerging occupations to the labour market. These are a few of the suggestions we had to help the automotive industry.
To assist the automotive value chain with the necessary skill sets and to up-skill the workforce, the MTA Institute continues to provide accredited apprenticeships and traineeships for each of the value chain’s prime sectors. In addition, there are accredited short courses, gap training and other non-accredited industry courses to meet the demands of the consumer/client and the technological and workplace changes.
As at September 2018, in Queensland there were 5,512 automotive sector apprentices in training, and there is a continuing need for apprentices and a relatively stable line of apprenticeship requirements. In the context of the priority skills shortages, ‘the apprentices in training pipeline’ has an insufficient capacity to meet the forecast demand of the automotive value chain.
The most appropriate way to address the forecast deficit of priority skills over the long term would be to develop a defined pathway for secondary school students to be inducted directly into the apprenticeship and traineeship system. We need to consider the following issues in formulating the state’s vocational education and training strategy:
- addressing the pre-requisite academic requirements e.g. the foundation skills of literacy, numeracy and digital proficiency for a secondary school student to enter or complete a trade apprenticeship;
- resourcing the apprenticeship and traineeship system with the learning environments and the instructors with the skill sets to equip students for the new industry dynamics which includes the emerging technologies, digital literacy, innovation, and automation; and
- the recognition of the ‘automotive value chain’ as a ‘key industry area’.
Whilst these points seem obvious, it takes a concentrated effort to get this work off the ground and deliver on what I believe can make entrants into the automotive industry a success.