Auto Repair and Service Apprenticeship Shortage

Auto Repair and Service Apprenticeship Shortage

From 2015 to present, there have been reports about the skills shortage in the motor mechanic industry throughout Australia. In an article published by Pathway to Australia, Motor Mechanics presently is on Australia’s Medium Long Term Skills Shortage List.

A constant frustration takes place for most automotive workshop managers and business owners because of the difficulties in employing people with the necessary skills in the said industry. Add to this constant frustration is the ageing workforce in the automotive industry. According to the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association, more than 40% of mechanics are over 50 years old and 30% or service repair workshops turn down customers for being understaffed and unable to deliver the market demand. As per AAAA a national shortage of 27,377 skilled positions in the automotive industry will even rise to more than 35,000 in the succeeding years.

With the high number of registered vehicles in Australia since 2015 and the huge spike in vehicle sales, the after-sales vehicle services such as maintenance and repair will also increase. Workshop owners are even actively offering incentives to improve recruitment and retention rates. Even with the cooperation of workshop owners and the continuous offshore recruitment for skilled auto mechanics, the shortage still threatens the Australian economy particularly with the 2.2% GDP or equivalent to $37.1 Billion contributions coming from the automotive repair industry. This data has been supplied by the Motor Trades Association of Australia and was submitted to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment. Even with the approximately 11,000 students commencing automotive trade training each year, the gap for skilled workers in the auto repair industry is still not met.

The sad news also is that, because of this shortage, it is highly likely that workshops might keep employing “second-chance” job seekers which often are older prisoners and ex-offenders. They might also resort to keeping underperforming auto mechanics.

In a cited article from Auto Recruiter, the following are the key issues in the automotive industry:

Advancement in Technology

Technology has brought us to a new level of doing things which brought computer functionality and hybrid mechanical and electrical motor vehicles. However, only a few skilled auto repair workers can keep up with the said advancement. Such changes are not readily understood or promoted to younger apprentices.

Job Shift from the Automotive to the Mining Industry

The mining industry presents higher wages which appealed to a lot of auto mechanics. Territories affected by this trend are Western Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia. New South Wales is also starting to experience the said issue.

Shortfall on Apprentices

From 2014-2015 studies, 76% of employers reported difficulties in sourcing for apprentices due to the low wages in the automotive industry. The low perception of automotive work also makes it more difficult for employers to retain young people in apprenticeships.  

Mismatch in Candidates 

It seems that this mismatch can also be attributed to the desperation of hiring filling out the job vacancies in the automotive industry. With a study conducted by the Department of Employment in 2015-2016, with 98% of vacancies required to be filled, 50% of the applicants were said to be lacking the trade qualifications. Two-thirds of trade qualified candidates were also reported to have insufficient experience, limited technical skills, unstable job history, poor communication skills, poor attitude or untidy presentation.

Education Training and Employment Australia and Mechanical Institute of Training & Technology understands this skills shortage and cooperates with the Australian Auto Industry and Government efforts. ETEA and MITT Private Colleges are offering Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology to help domestic and international students acquire trade accepted skills and qualifications upon completion. For interested applicants, you may check the details of their course at the following links:

MITT – AUR30616 Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology

ETEA – AUR30616 Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology

You may also contact them at any of the following details: 

Education Training and Employment Australia


Domestic Students: 131389

International : +61 3945 00500

Head Office: Level 1, 113 Burgundy St,

Heidelberg 3084, VIC

Mechanical Institute of Training & Technology


International Students: +613 9450 0500 

Domestic Students:  03 9450 0500

Address: Level 1 / 158 Burgundy Street, Heidelberg, Victoria, 3084 Melbourne