Major skill shortages must be addressed by next Victorian State Government

8 OCTOBER 2018

Unfilled positions in the retail, service and repair sectors of Victoria’s automotive industry have climbed to almost 7,000. It is the job of the next Victorian State Government to turn this around, says the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC).

According to VACC research 6,900 jobs remain vacant across the state, in areas including mechanical repair, crash repair and parts interpreting. Solving this problem begins with government recognition, believes VACC Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Gwilym.

“What VACC wants from the next Victorian State Government is to recognise that there is a problem in the first place. Then we want them to put in place policies and processes to close the gap on the growing skills shortage that is affecting thousands of Victorian businesses.

“VACC argues that the current skill shortage limits the capacity of automotive businesses to expand and generate greater productivity and, ultimately, to employ more staff,” said Mr Gwilym.

An important part of the solution is attracting apprentices into the automotive industry. Incentivising employers is a critical area to address quickly.

“VACC maintains that the right mix of incentives is needed to encourage the hiring and retention of apprentices,” said Mr Gwilym.

The current system is based on incentivising business to hire specific candidates, usually those facing employment barriers. VACC argues that the system should be broadened to encourage employers to engage all types of candidates, which would improve retention rates.

VACC Auto Apprenticeships currently employs and places 431 automotive apprentices and trainees in Victoria, making it the largest automotive apprenticeship employer in the state. 

“Recognition of these skill shortages and their impacts, along with a focus to reduce the severity of skills shortages within the automotive industry – with apprenticeships at the heart of the solution – should be a policy imperative for Victoria that will generate tangible benefits for businesses and the broader community,” said Mr Gwilym.

Download VACC’s complete election manifesto Better Business. Better Victoria.

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