The introduction of new technologies, such as the hybrid vehicle, creates challenges when an existing workforce must retrain before the technology can be successful.
So how do you ensure the automotive workforce - some 329 000 people - adapt their skills to include this and other new technologies?
Certainly you can ensure newcomers to the industry learn such skills from day one, and over time they will replace outgoing workers resulting in a gradual increase in overall skills and capability. And CIT is supporting this, through the incorporation of hybrid and electric vehicles into apprentice training. But the process must include existing workers too.
To accommodate this, CIT has developed a customisable Certificate IV in Automotive Training Technology for qualified mechanics only, that is delivered part time in the workplace and online, in whatever way best suits the employer. It covers hybrid and electric vehicle technology, advanced diagnostics and other technological and electronic automotive innovations.
ACT automotive technicians (who have completed a Certificate III in Automotive Mechanical Technology) can apply for funding through the Australian Government's Productivity Places Program (PPP). Successful applicants will benefit from a contribution by the Australian and ACT Governments of $3600, or ninety per cent, towards the cost of the training, leaving only ten per cent, or $400, to be met by either the employer or employee.
A brand new course (less than twelve months old), this training solution has already delivered great results. Teacher Colin Prest explains why he developed this new program and how it helps businesses:
"As the industry changes, CIT changes with it. It's not enough that hybrid cars exist - you need people to be able to service them, fix them when they break, maintain them and improve them. But having worked in industry myself, I know how hard it is for businesses to upskill employees with all the other demands on their time and money.
"That's why when we deliver this training directly to business, flexibility is key. It's about what the business needs, when and where they need it. Clients make use of our state of the art e-learning program, giving them access to interactive learning content 24/7. We make it as easy as possible for participants by also giving them resources on a thumb drive. We adapt to the schedule of each business, and conduct our training during their down times to minimise the impact of releasing staff. It's a real partnership."