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Automotive Vehicle Manufacturing

Overview

This page provides information and data on Automotive Vehicle Manufacturing sector, which is one component of the automotive industry.

Automotive manufacturing has two components:

  • Bus, truck and trailer manufacturing. This includes the manufacture of specialised vehicles such as fire engines, street sweepers and emergency service vehicles
  • Passenger vehicle manufacturing which also includes the manufacture of component supplies.

The closures of the GM Holden, Ford and Toyota manufacturing plants in Australia have significantly contracted employment opportunities for employment in passenger vehicle manufacturing. This includes the flow on effects to component manufacturing.

Nationally recognised training for automotive vehicle manufacturing is delivered under the AUM Automotive Manufacturing Training Package.

For information on other automotive related industry sectors, visit the Automotive cluster page.

For information on other manufacturing related industries visit the Manufacturing and Related Services cluster page, and the Food and Pharmaceutical Production cluster page.

Information sourced from the Automotive Industry Skills Forecast

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

The two relevant IRCs are the Automotive Light Vehicle Industry Reference Committee and the Automotive Heavy Vehicle Reference Committee

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Employment numbers in many of the transport related manufacturing sectors has declined radically between 2006 and 2016.  In total, in the industry classes represented, employment numbers dropped from 79,265 in 2006 to 44,906 in 2016. The largest two industry classes, Motor Vehicle Manufacturing, and Other Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing, have declined by a half or more over this period. Given the closure of car manufacturing plants in Australia, numbers would be expected to decline even further.

This decline in employment is also reflected in the employment projections for some of the main occupations involved in Automotive related manufacturing. The largest declines are expected to be in the occupations of Product Assemblers, and Vehicle Body Builders and Trimmers – those most greatly affected by the closure of the car manufacturing plants.   

Training trends

Training snapshot

As expected, there are few enrolments in the Automotive Manufacturing Training Package in 2016, and even fewer program completions. The program enrolments were in three qualifications; the largest number being the certificate III in Automotive Manufacturing Technical Operations - Bus, Truck and Trailer which had 403 enrolments.

The training for the certificate II level courses in automotive manufacturing production were intended to lead to the occupation of Product Assemblers while the certificate III level courses in automotive manufacturing technical operations were intended to lead to the occupation of Vehicle Body Builders and Trimmers. It was noted in the employment snapshot above that these occupations are expected to decline significantly in terms of employment numbers over the next few years.

All training in 2016 for these courses was delivered by TAFE institutes and the large majority of qualification subjects were government funded. Enrolments were from students in Victoria (43%), New South Wales (22%), Queensland (19%) and Western Australia (17%). All the certificate II enrolments in passenger vehicle manufacturing were from students in Victoria. 

Apprenticeship commencements and completions for the Automotive Industry Manufacturing Training Package have been steadily declining. In 2016 there were 134 commencements compared to 395 in 2011, and 78 completions in 2016 as compared to 171 in 2013. Virtually all the apprenticeships were for the intended occupation of Vehicle Body Builders and Trimmers. The apprenticeships took place across four states, the largest proportion (41%) being in New South Wales.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Automotive Industry Skills Forecast indicates that the priority skills for bus, truck and trailer manufacturing are technical skills such as electronic component sensitivity. The highest ranked generic skills for automotive manufacturing were:

  • Design mindset/Thinking critically/Systems thinking/Solving problems
  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy
  • Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • Technology
  • Customer service/Marketing

It is well documented, for example, in the Directions in Australia’s automotive industry 2017 report and other places that Australia’s car and component manufacturing industry sector has been greatly affected by the closure of its car manufacturing plant, with resulting loss of jobs in this sector.

However, the report mentions that there are still positive business conditions in Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing and Bus, Truck and Trailer Manufacturing. Much of this is due to expenditure by state governments (mainly Victoria and Queensland) on rail replacement buses and trams. Additionally, fire suppression systems need to be installed on buses, trams and trucks as a result of regulation.

The report also estimates a shortage of Vehicle Body Builders in the Vehicle Manufacturing - Bus, Truck and Trailer sector. The shortage is expected to be 110 in 2017-2018 and 70 in 2018-2019.      

The Automotive IRC Skills forecast notes that there may be growth opportunities in the Bus, Truck and Trailer Manufacturing sector. This is as a result of a demand for lighter vehicles and also increased exports of specialised vehicles. This has implications for the skills of workers involved in the production of these vehicles. For example, lightweight materials involve different technologies and production processes.

The research overview The end of car manufacturing in Australia: what is the role of training? indicates that training of workers is a fundamental part of industry restructuring packages in light of closure of passenger vehicle manufacturing. This training:

  • needs to be tailored to individual needs
  • appropriately timed
  • take into account regional labour market needs.

The overview also points out that the training should focus on transferability of skills, support for developing foundation skills, and be age appropriate.

More discussion on transferability of skills can be found on the Automotive cross sector page.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

    • by ANZSIC 4 digit, employment projections to May 2022

      • 2311 Motor Vehicle Manufacturing
      • 2312 Motor Vehicle Body and Trailer Manufacturing
      • 2313 Automotive Electrical Component Manufacturing
      • 2319 Other Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing
      • 2461 Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing
      • 2462 Mining and Construction Machinery Manufacturing
      • 2491 Lifting and Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing
    • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2022
      • 1335 Production Managers
      • 2335 Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers
      • 3223 Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers
      • 3232 Metal Fitters and Machinists
      • 3242 Vehicle Body Builders and Trimmers
      • 8322 Product Assemblers

    Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 September 2017 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>

    • Employed total by ANZSIC 4 digit, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter
      • 2311 Motor Vehicle Manufacturing
      • 2312 Motor Vehicle Body and Trailer Manufacturing
      • 2313 Automotive Electrical Component Manufacturing
      • 2319 Other Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing
      • 2461 Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing
      • 2462 Mining and Construction Machinery Manufacturing
      • 2491 Lifting and Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing

    Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, 2006 Census –labour force, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

    • Employment level by 4 digit ANZSIC,
      • 2311 Motor Vehicle Manufacturing
      • 2312 Motor Vehicle Body and Trailer Manufacturing
      • 2313 Automotive Electrical Component Manufacturing
      • 2319 Other Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing
      • 2461 Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing
      • 2462 Mining and Construction Machinery Manufacturing
      • 2491 Lifting and Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing
    • and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.                                                                                                                                          

    Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

    • AUM Automotive Manufacturing Training Package

    This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

    Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

    • 2014, 2015, 2016 program enrolments
    • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments
    • 2014, 2015, 2016 program completions.

    Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

    Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

    Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.  This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

    AUM Automotive Manufacturing Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

    • 2010 to 2016 commencements
    • 2010 to 2016 completions 
    • 2016 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2016 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

    Priority skills data have been extracted from the Automotive Industry Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

    Updated: 17 Sep 2018
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