I hope everyone is travelling well. We have been very busy here – a fact most employers and apprentices will be aware of through the introduction of our new digital learning platform, My Profiling. This has been a large project to get up and running and I’m sure the benefits, for both employers and apprentices, will be seen in the coming months, most notably the transparency over an apprentice’s progression through their learning activities. The feedback so far has been excellent and the system has been very well received.
I’ve also had a chance to read the Directions in Australia’s Automotive Industry 2017 report. It’s an interesting read and sums up the state of all the automotive sectors, including their current condition, economic contribution, skill shortages, education and training issues, plus the future directions of Australia’s automotive industry. What caught my attention was the Queensland analysis. The Queensland automotive industry has an aggregated employment of 88,181 people, an increase in employment of 6.1 per cent from 2014/15. However, we have seen a slow decrease in the number of apprentices in training since 2012/13. This tells me that whilst there are great opportunities for employment in the automotive industry, we are not seeing this through the traditional apprenticeship pathway. Ultimately, this equals skill shortages.
The MTA Institute is keen to see a strong intake of apprentices into industry to ensure we have the skilled workforce needed into the future. However, this will only occur if employers take on apprentices. The report highlights the reasons for the shortages, including:
• The poor quality of available candidates
• Not enough people entering the trades
• Attraction of labour towards other markets
These are points which are pretty familiar to automotive employers and something we will continue to work through with our Employability Skills Programs and Prevocational Programs to help attract and select good candidates.