More Proactive Solutions Needed To Address Skills Shortage

In the last month, we have seen the Federal Government take some positive steps to address the automotive skills shortage that is still impacting the entire industry.

The recent announcement to provide financial support for apprentices throughout their course should assist apprentices that are prevented from completing their apprenticeships due to cost-of-living pressures, which was identified as a major challenge in the AAAA’s Automotive Skills Shortage Report.
However, an over-reliance on government alone to solve the skills shortage will end in disaster – as we have seen in the last few months with migration becoming a political football which will likely see a cap on any increases in skilled migration for the foreseeable future.

With Government policy counterbalancing measures to address the overall skills shortage, the question that has to be asked is: what can our industry do to proactively address the issue in these times of uncertainty? 

While we are still actively working with the government to ensure that these critical skills gaps can be addressed and mitigated in the long term, the reality is that we cannot rely on governments to be the magic fix to these problems.

We must continue to identify what it is that we are want and take proactive steps to implement innovative solutions to find a way forward. 

Late last year AAAA asked if it was possible to match retired automotive technicians with workshops that needed mentoring, wisdom, service management, or business management support and expertise.
From that initial discussion sprung a new project to engage retired mechanics and workshop owners to explore if there is an appetite for this and what it may look like. 

This research, commissioned by AAAA and undertaken by Fifth Quadrant, has revealed that there is a broad appeal for this concept from both retired technicians and workshops. 

The range of skills specifically required by workshop managers and owners which match directly with the skills that retired technicians are willing to offer include an understanding of business operations, streamlining processes, improving efficiency, customer relationship management and reducing costs, as well as providing on-the-job training and mentorship to younger technicians to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application.

However, implementing this idea is not without its challenges. Questions over flexibility in roles to balance work and life commitments and being able to assess if experienced technicians can blend effectively into existing teams were raised by both workshop owners and retired technicians. 
One possible solution to these challenges is building a dedicated platform to connect mature technicians with workshops, to better integrate their needs and those of workshops.

Over the coming months, we will be engaging with workshops to determine the best model and approach to matching the demand for key skills with the pool of experienced technicians who still want to stay connected to the industry. 

We would like to thank all of our members who participated in this research.

To stay updated on the research and to obtain a copy once it is published, please reach out to

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