November 2020

We recently held our MTA Queensland 2020 Apprentice of the Year event and, in a year like no other, it was pleasing to see the amount of people attending in person and, given the COVID-19 environment, also online.

It was our 8th Apprentice of the Year award ceremony – an award that acknowledges the work of automotive apprentices and their contribution throughout the Queensland automotive industry.

We know the automotive industry is an industry of innovation and change, and to try and keep up with that change, you just have to keep learning and thirsting to learn! The apprenticeship is typically the first step on the automotive industry career ladder and there is always opportunity ahead. Our Apprentice of the Year finalists are already well on their way to success.

It was exciting to see Gabrielle Clift as our winner. A light vehicle apprentice at Highfields Mechanical & Offroad in Highfields near Toowoomba, Gabrielle has proven to be an outstanding apprentice and employee. She is extremely dedicated to both her training and her workplace and is an excellent example to other apprentices and tradespeople. Well done Gabrielle!

It was also great to highlight to everyone in attendance and watching online the programs we support. These include:

  • The automotive industry ambassador program, which is open to late-stage apprentices and early tradespeople. The Automotive Industry Ambassador Program is a series of free short courses that offer leadership and communication skills to recently graduated apprentices who show leadership potential in the workplace.
  • The Queensland automotive trades scholarship fund offered through the Queensland Overseas Foundation. This scholarship assists people in automotive trades in the Queensland to travel and work overseas in their chosen vocation for 12 months. It gives them the opportunity to apply for this scholarship, with funds provided for travel related expenses and a settling in allowance up to $7,500. It provides valuable international work experience and return to Queensland to contribute more broadly to industry with their learnings.
  • The MTA Queensland Automotive Trainer Scholarship, which is awarded to recipients with a fully funded Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40116) to allow them to progress their career into automotive training. It’s great to see we’ve received a number of applications so far and we’ll have the applications open until the 1st March 2021, with the recipient announced on 1st April 2021.

All this underpins what we do to support ongoing professional development for people within the automotive industry.

We’ve seen an increase in enquiries for the federal government’s wage subsidy scheme and, from all accounts, this scheme is off to a strong start. More than 6,000 applications have already been received from employers for the $1.2 billion Boosting Apprenticeships Commencements wage subsidy, Senate Estimates heard last week.

The government made a number of changes to the scheme to restrict existing workers following concerns it could be exploited by some unscrupulous employers or training providers. There will be no restrictions on trade commencements by existing workers. For traineeships, there will be a cap of 30 per employer and only where a casual worker is transferring to part-time or full-time, or a part-time worker is transferring to full-time. For more information on the scheme, please contact your Australian Apprenticeship Support Network.

2020 is a year no one will forget, dominated by conversation regarding safety, the economy and work/life balance. It has been a rough year for everyone, but I have been fortunate to work alongside a great group of people and come out the other side OK.

I would particularly like to thank Dr Brett Dale, CEO of the MTA Queensland Group for the past four years, who is pulling up stumps on his work with us and moving on to a fresh challenge. I have appreciated his professionalism, his dedication to MTA Queensland, and his support of the training group.

Thank you Brett for your work and support over the years. We wish you the best in your future endeavours!

10 November 2020