Sydney business trying to solve Australia’s automotive skills shortage

Australia needs up to 19,000 more trained mechanics, according to a survey by Auto Skills Australia.

And while these mechanics can’t be conjured out of thin air, some can be imported from the many advanced economies suffering from an oversupply of highly skilled, factory trained technicians due to the GFC-inspired downturn –particularly in Europe.

A notable area of concern across the Australian industry is the lack of technicians expert in fault diagnosis. This can lead to workshops wasting time groping for solutions instead of using an expert to diagnose a fault and pass the remedy onto a mechanic to carry out and rectify the problem.

Sydney-based company Techs On The Move has been focusing on solving Australia’s technician shortages since 2010, sourcing qualified technicians from international markets.

The company’s founder, Gavin Stocks, himself a skilled migrant, says workshop efficiency and profitability can be boosted by having the right skill sets on hand. “In our experience a shrewd service manager is someone who has invested in a highly skilled technician to undertake the fault diagnosis,” Gavin says.

“Techs On The Move has been working to combat the shortages of mechanics, technicians, auto electricians, panel beaters and painters across automotive, transport, marine, construction equipment and motorcycle industries collectively over the past three years.

“Few markets train their technicians to the high standards that we demand in Australia. Some employers only find out too late what they think is a highly qualified candidate, is actually only suitable for routine maintenance. The language barrier can be an issue as well, especially if the highly trained expert has to communicate complex issues effectively with his team.

“International recruitment isn’t cheap. However, if you’re serious about up-skilling your workforce, then you’ll quickly appreciate that the upside of our service is increased profit through greater efficiency, therefore the entire activity can be self-funding, sometimes within the first month of the candidate arriving.”

While the long-term solution requires continued investment in attracting quality candidates into apprenticeships, the short-term solutions are limited.

“We have a good track record of bridging the gap to keep workshops running efficiently, and more profitably,” Gavin says.

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