Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Automotive Trades Workforce

In reply to the Hon. D.G.E. HOOD ().18 October 2023).

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): The Minister for Education, Training and Skills has advised:

The Malinauskas Labor government is investing record funding to tackling skill shortages. As announced earlier this month, we have signed a new National Skills Agreement, unlocking over $2.2 billion investment in skills for South Australians. This represents an increase of almost $690 million in funding, with $440 million from South Australia and $250 million from the commonwealth over the life of the agreement from 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2028.

Investment will be aligned to key priority areas including defence, early childhood education, clean energy transition, building and construction, automotive, and ICT, supporting South Australians to complete training and move into secure, well-paid jobs.

This funding will enable the state government to continue to support access to subsidised training for key occupations, including those in the automotive sector. Currently over 30 courses and skill sets aligned to the automotive retail, service and repair sector are subsidised.

Through the support provided by our government, we have seen positive increases in training levels and, in particular, in key apprenticeship areas aligned to the automotive sector.

According to the latest figures from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), the number of South Australian apprenticeships in training in automotive trade occupations has increased 10.4 per cent to 2,505 as at 31 March 2023. This excludes fabrication and mechanical engineering trades, which have also increased from 2022.

In addition, to investing in training delivery, the Malinauskas Labor government is investing in specific initiatives to support skills development in the automotive sector. Initiatives include:

MTA Mentoring Program–The state government committed a total of $280,000, over two years from 2022-24, to provide additional mentoring support for automotive apprentices and trainees. This support will assist to address skills shortages in the automotive retail, service and repair sector by delivering industry mentoring services to first and second-year apprentices that help ensure they remain engaged with their training and employment.

MTA Cleve Skills Centre–Aligned to the $9 million investment in immediate responses to the skills plan engagement, government is supporting the MTA to expand its training facility in Cleve which specialises in mechanical, agricultural machinery, and automotive electrical vocations. This project will build a new heavy and agricultural machinery workshop, which will also house a prime mover for training purposes. This expansion will support the training facility into full-time operational training delivery for the region.

Tonsley Technical College–The MTA has been recently announced as a key partner of the new Tonsley Technical College, with automotive being one of the streams available from 2025 for students in years 10-12.

In addition, the $28 million targeted subsidy increase for industry and not-for-profit training providers, announced in the 2023-24 state budget, will benefit providers including the MTA.

The state government also continues to fund a number of initiatives targeted at removing barriers for unrepresented groups, support apprentices aged 21 and over and focus on apprenticeships and traineeships completions. Initiatives include:

Return to Work SA Apprentice Incentive—available to all employers registered with ReturnToWorkSA who employ an eligible person, as well as self-insured employers. The incentive aims to assist skills creation in South Australia by encouraging employers to take on apprentices.

The South Australian Group Training Program (or SAGTP) enables GTOs to provide:

pastoral care arrangements for apprentices and trainees employed by GTOs, and

the placement of those apprentices and trainees with host employers.

enhanced opportunities for target cohorts such as Aboriginal

apprentices and trainees, a person living with a disability or female learners.

from 2023-24 to 2025-26, the SAGTP will provide around $1.3million per annum to GTOs.

The GTO Boost Program helps GTOs to:

reduce the charge out rate (by $100 per week per apprentice and trainee for 12 months) for each new training contract commencement.

enable retention, engagement and new opportunities for adult apprentices across all industries.

from 2023-24 to 2025-26, the GTO Boost Program will provide around $1 million per annum to GTOs.

In addition, over $2 million is provided to eligible GTOs through the GTO Support (Payroll Tax) Program, which provides funding commensurate with the payroll tax liability incurred by participating GTOs within a financial year.