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MTA welcomes Trade Training shakeup

The Motor Trade Association is hoping that the government’s proposed reforms of the vocational education system will result in more people training for the trades.

MTA Chief Executive Craig Pomare says “We welcome the proposal as an opportunity to address critical skills shortages, not just in the automotive sector, but in trades across the economy. It is also good to see that employers will have a strong place in the proposed structure”.

However, he wants the changes to include resources and support for the tens of thousands of employers who train apprentices at their own cost. “For small business, like your local garage, it is difficult to take on the additional work of training an apprentice when you are already flat out. You can actually lose time and money to that training in the first year or so.”

He says under the current system, a Polytech will qualify 51 people for every one million dollars of government funding. “The industry training system pumps out 306 people for every million dollars of government funding. That’s because the bulk of the cost falls on employers,” he said.

“MTA believes there are close to 2,000 vacancies for qualified mechanics and panel beaters and these jobs often remain unfilled for months or the employer gives up. “We desperately need to grow more of our own skilled trades people and we need help to do that.”

Mr Pomare said almost all motor trade businesses are owned and run by people who were once apprentices. “This career progression is the same in most trades - young people start as apprentices and many end up managing or owning the business. Ideally, this reform would include life-learning options, to support this type of professional development.”

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