A new report highlights shortfalls in retention and finding skilled labour in regards to the Heavy Vehicle Transport sector as well as a sharp drop in Vehicle Body Builder apprenticeships with a reduction of 54% and high cancellation numbers across many apprenticeships.
However, the report also suggests significant increases in apprenticeship levels in most areas of the Heavy Vehicle Transport sector.
The Future Trends in Workforce Demand and Occupational Priorities for the Commercial Vehicle Sector in Queensland 2013-2018 report released by the Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Queensland (CVIAQ) states businesses in the Commercial Vehicle sector are experiencing a shortage of skilled labour across a number of trade areas, with the highest shortages occurring in the trade areas of Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HCV) Technician, Boilermakers and Vehicle Body Builders, followed by Sales and Parts Interpreters and Automotive Electricians respectively.
The report suggests the main reasons organisations were experiencing shortages were:
- Lack of suitably skilled workers
- Salary competition
- Attractiveness of other industries
- Labour shortage
- Attractiveness of the Resources sector
The report also indicates this shortage of skilled labour is impacting on business by causing a lack of capability to complete work on time and to tender for contracts.
“Businesses are impacted further by newly employed qualified workers not having the necessary skills or experience resulting in an attrition rate of 50% in such workers during a trial or probationary period,” the report states.
The majority of businesses taking part in the survey have a trades and technician based workforce indicating the industry has a reliance on a robust technical training system to provide its future workforce.
In this regard, apprenticeship in-training numbers have either remained relatively stable in relation to apprentice Sales/parts Interpreters and Vehicle Body Builders, or increased slightly in relation to apprentice Light Vehicle Technician, HCV Technician, Boilermakers and Auto Electrician in-training numbers from July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012. From 2010-2011 to 2011-2012, there have been significant increases in apprenticeship commencement numbers across the following apprenticeships:
- HCV Technician from 344 to 545 (or 58%)
- Auto Electrician from 188 to 288 (or 49%)
- Light Vehicle Technician 1,231 to 1,589 (or 29%)
- Boilermaker from 1,519 to 1,755 (or 16%)
The only reduction in commencement numbers has occurred in the Vehicle Body Builder apprenticeship with a reduction of 54% from 201 to 92 from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012.
However, cancellation numbers have also increased at an alarming rate across some of the apprenticeships with the following levels of cancellations occurring from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012:
- Auto Electrician from 71 to 100 (or 41%).
- HCV Technician from 145 to 183 (or 26%).
- Light Vehicle Technician from 642 to 718 (or 12%)
- Vehicle Body Builder from 56 to 74 (or 32%)
The report states completion numbers for these apprenticeships however, have remained relatively static.
This paper was commissioned by CVIAQ for three main purposes according to CEO Brett Wright.
Firstly to assist the industry in understanding the workforce challenges it faces over the next five years and enable it to plan accordingly.
Secondly, to educate industry on the structure of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system in Australia and what role each stakeholder plays and thirdly, to inform government of the critical role the industry plays in underpinning the “four pillar” economy of Queensland and make recommendations for initiatives which will positively benefit the industry and the state economy.
The CVIAQ used the official opening of the Brisbane Truck Show attended by the Hon. Campbell Newman MP, Premier of Queensland and the Hon. Scott Emerson MP, Minister for Transport and Main Roads, to launch the report.