MTA SA comments on The Motor Trades Association of Australia release of Directions in Australia’s Automotive Industry for 2021. This comprehensive review of the automotive industry is the first such scan for four years and will be used by the MTA to guide decision makers including Governments, policy makers, education experts and other stakeholders to analyse and create recommendations for the future of the automotive industry.
MTA SA/NT CEO Paul Unerkov said “the report shows that the impact of Covid, the severe skill shortages and adapting to emerging technology changes are the three biggest challenges for the automotive industry.
“The report demonstrates that the transition to zero emission vehicles over the next decade will also see a dramatic change in the skills required in our workforce with apprentices and existing technicians needing the training, experience and infrastructure to service and repair electric vehicles.
“The Northern Territory needs a thriving automotive industry. 97 per cent of the Northern Territory’s estimated 708 businesses in the automotive industry are small and family-owned businesses with 19 or fewer employees. We have extensive interconnections to over 90 per cent of industry, directly generating over $500 million to the NT economy, employing over 4,000 people across the Northern Territory.
“The disruption we are experiencing as we approach a revolutionary turning point demonstrates the need for better automotive industry partnerships to develop an automotive sector blueprint to manage the transformation of the current 160,000 strong Northern Territory fleet.
“Additionally, the research shows that 41 per cent of automotive businesses are currently experiencing a shortage of skilled labour, marginally down from 43 per cent in 2016/17.
“This equates to an estimated 435 skilled positions within the Northern Territory automotive industry available for a start today. By far the greatest need is for light vehicle technicians, with almost 200 skilled positions to fill the shortage now.
“It is more difficult in regional areas to find qualified staff with 57 per cent of regional automotive businesses experiencing a skills shortage with the average time taken to fill those vacancies being approximately 9 months. This not only has a huge effect directly on the business but it also trickles down through the whole town as customers have to travel further or miss servicing or repairing their vehicle.
“The MTA currently receives numerous requests from employers and hosts looking for suitable apprentices but there are a shortage of suitable candidates.”
“Staying profitable during Covid has also been an issue however Northern Territory automotive businesses experienced only mild to moderate levels of disruption. This was partly a result of the high participation in the JobKeeper Scheme as 78 per cent of Northern Territory automotive businesses had utilised the federal Scheme to maintain their operations.”