October 2019

What a difference a month makes. It wasn’t that long ago I was letting everyone know we were nominated for the Queensland Training Awards (QTA) and that alone was a great reward for the work we have been doing. Now the awards have been run, and we won! The news was announced at the State Gala Dinner in Brisbane on 14 September, and nearly 900 guests attended the dinner to celebrate the excellence and innovation within the Queensland vocational education and training (VET) sector.

Winners were announced across 14 award categories, including Small and Large Training Provider of the Year, VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year, and Vocational Student, Apprentice and Trainee of the Year.

Winning the Small Training Provider of the Year award, we were acknowledged for the work we’ve done with the full suite of nationally accredited automotive qualifications, short courses and school-based programs we deliver right across Queensland, as well as our direct industry and employer links that ensure skills and experience are aligned to industry requirements. This direct connection allows us to facilitate the best possible employment outcomes for students and employers.

Ultimately, none of this would have been achievable if it wasn’t for all the hard work and dedication from the MTA Institute team. They are a fantastic group of people to work with and are always willing to help the industry and support its future with their dedication to training and skilling. Well done to the MTA Institute team.

We now move on to compete for national honours at the Australian Training Awards in Brisbane on Thursday 21 November 2019. Hopefully I’ll report back with a great result.

While the QTA award is a great accolade for us, it doesn’t stop our work to provide the best outcome for the automotive industry and recently we’ve highlighted some views to the federal government on better ways to increase participation into the automotive industry.

This included looking at the entry points into an automotive apprenticeship from schools. There is a need for these to be promoted and highlighted. Vocational education and training is one of the entry points and some highly credentialed applicants are not entering the industry through this trade pathway due to a lack of definition about the prerequisites for applicants to succeed in this vocation.

Students considering an automotive trade apprenticeship must have both the aptitude and the attitude to succeed. Professor of Adult and Vocational Education at Griffith University Stephen Billett, indicated that ‘Australia needs exceptional technical, trade and service workers whose skills are developed through effective occupational preparation.’ (The Conversation: We need to change negative views of the jobs VET serves to make it a good post-school option, October 4 2018).

To achieve this aptitude and the attitude, there must be a paradigm shift towards a secondary school student having the knowledge of the academic requirements (science, technology, English and mathematics (STEM) to enter the trades – equivalent to those required to matriculate for an undergraduate qualification – and to have the confidence to apply for an apprenticeship. Tertiary entrance considerations or rankings are not relevant for students to enter a technical course or apprenticeship. Schools do not effectively promote the skills requirements, or the academic qualifications required for students to enter the trades. 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.

It’d be worth considering the following issues as the baseline to support students entering the motor trades:

  • the pre-requisite academic requirements – the foundation skills of literacy, numeracy and digital proficiency – for a secondary school student to enter or complete a trade apprenticeship; and
  • increased resourcing for the apprenticeship and traineeship system with the learning environments and instructors with skill sets to equip students for the new industry dynamics which includes the emerging technologies, diagnostics, digital literacy, innovation, and automation.

Just a few thoughts, but something we can certainly look at.

All the best until next time.