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Australian automotive trades body, Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA), has expressed its support for the federal government’s ambitious goal of achieving full employment. However, the association emphasises the critical role of training and workplace flexibility in realising this objective.

In response to the Federal Government’s White Paper on Jobs and Opportunities, which places a strong emphasis on achieving full employment, MTAA CEO Geoff Gwilym highlighted the need for a concerted effort towards foundational skills in schools and training programs.

“Full employment is a key and admirable goal for the Australian economy. However, meeting this target means employers and employees need to exercise all available workplace flexibilities to achieve these aims,” stated Mr. Gwilym.

The MTAA underscores the importance of foundational training, asserting that it would contribute to Australia’s overall skills capability and enhance workplace productivity. This, in turn, could facilitate greater participation by individuals facing challenges in accessing suitable employment.

Addressing the need for resources and funding for training providers, the MTAA urged the government to ensure equitable access for both private training providers and TAFE institutes. The association stressed the importance of industry-registered training organisations, emphasising their role as a vital link between industry, training, and employment.

“The provision of quality training will be critical to a number of industries, including those like automotive, which face critical skills shortages,” noted the MTAA.

Highlighting the dynamic nature of various industries, including automotive, Mr. Gwilym emphasised the need for a seamless transition to meet the demands of the digital world and environmental targets. Modern mechanics, according to him, must possess both mechanical and digital skills due to the integration of electronic diagnosis and computer analytics in working with new vehicles.

“Care needs to be taken to ensure a scarce number of trade aspirants leaving school will not jump to higher-level apprenticeships at the expense of the traditional trades,” cautioned Mr. Gwilym.

The MTAA pointed out that the automotive sector alone requires 15,000 new apprentices annually and stressed the economic repercussions of any reduction in this number. Moreover, the association expressed support for aligning migration with job demands, particularly in an industry with over 30,000 vacant positions nationwide.

“In an industry with over 30,000 vacant jobs nationally, we need to ensure we tightly match migration with genuine jobs and employment in the economy,” emphasised Mr. Gwilym.

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