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Automotive Mechanical Heavy

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Automotive – Mechanical Heavy industry sector, which is one component of the Automotive industry.

This industry sector provides repair and service work for heavy vehicles. Key segments of this industry sector include:

  • Mobile plant machinery (in mining and construction)
  • Heavy commercial vehicles (road transport)
  • Agricultural machinery.

There has been increased uptake of electronic technology components in trucks and commercial vehicles which will require more advanced capabilities within the sector and new safety requirements.

Nationally recognised training for the Automotive – Mechanical Heavy industry sector is delivered under the AUR – Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair Training Package.

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

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

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

There are two main industry classes relevant to the Automotive – Mechanical Heavy sector. These are:

  • Other Automotive Repair and Maintenance
  • Other Machinery and Equipment Repair and Maintenance.

Numbers employed in the Other Automotive Repair and Maintenance industry class were approximately 65,600 according to the 2016 census, up from 59,600 in the 2006 census. In the other class, employment numbers remained reasonably static between the two census periods at approximately 26,400.

Please note however that these industry classes also cover other activities besides work relevant to the Automotive – Mechanical Heavy sector, so the trends shown here should be seen as indicative only.

The two main occupations in these industry classes relevant to Automotive Mechanical Heavy are Motor Mechanics and Motor Vehicle Parts and Accessories Fitters. Motor Mechanics form by far the greatest portion of the two industry sub-sectors. Employment levels for Motor Mechanics are expected to decrease slightly until 2025, while levels for Motor Vehicle Parts and Accessories Fitters are projected to increase slightly during the same period.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Automotive – Mechanical Heavy-related qualifications increased from approximately 10,910 in 2019 to 11,230 in 2020. Program completions have decreased from around 2,500 to roughly 2,320 in the same period.

All program enrolments in Automotive – Mechanical Heavy-related qualifications were at the certificate III level, with more than half (53%) of enrolments occurring within the qualification cluster of Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology, followed by Mobile Plant Technology (37%). The main intended occupation was Motor Mechanic (General).

Approximately 69% of the training in 2020 was delivered by TAFE institutes, followed by private training providers (26%). Overall, 75% of Automotive – Mechanical Heavy-related qualifications were Commonwealth and state funded, with 18% domestic fee for service.

In 2020, the highest proportion of program enrolments in this sector were by students residing in New South Wales (29%), followed by Queensland (20%), Victoria (17%), and Western Australia (17%). Nearly 26% of training was delivered in New South Wales, with 23% delivered in Queensland, 22% in Victoria and 16% in Western Australia.

There were approximately 3,480 apprentice and trainee commencements and roughly 1,650 completions in Automotive – Mechanical Heavy-related qualifications in 2020. Commencements have continued to increase, recording the highest level since 2011, while completions have increased slightly from around 1,530 in both 2018 and 2019. Almost all the apprenticeships had the intended occupation of Motor Mechanic (General). The largest proportion of apprenticeships and traineeships were reported by New South Wales (30%), followed by Western Australia (21%), Queensland (19%) and Victoria (17%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry group or training package, visit NCVER’s Data Builder.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

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 IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast ranks a list of generic skills in order of importance for each industry sector. The top five ranked generic skills for the Heavy Vehicle sector (which includes Automotive – Mechanical Heavy) are:

  • Language, literacy and numeracy (LLN)
  • Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
  • Design mindset/Thinking critically/System thinking/Solving problems
  • Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • Technology use and application.

The description of work undertaken for Project 1m – Mechanical heavy technology in the AUR Automotive Retail, Service and Repair Training Package Case for Endorsement includes:

  • There is an increasing need for electrical and diagnostic skills due to technological advancements in relation to Heavy commercial vehicle – Road transport qualifications. Learners now require a broader skill set than provided by specialist qualifications, and overhauling, for example, has seen a decrease in industry demand as engines are now generally replaced. The units of competency have been updated to include methods of gathering and assessing diagnostic information, recent changes in vehicle technology and componentry, and identifying fault symptoms and causes, and obsolete technologies have been identified for deletion.
  • The AUR31816 Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Trailer Technology has been restructured, de-emphasising inspecting and servicing hydraulics systems as a core requirement of the job role, to make the qualification more flexible for industry in all jurisdictions. The restructure was undertaken in response to industry concerns that the existing core unit content in the qualification may not be directly relevant to all work on heavy commercial trailer service and repair, and it may narrow future job opportunities for learners.
  • The mobile plant project proposed the ‘Diagnose and repair’ units of competency scoped within this subsector be updated to ensure skills involving methods of gathering and assessing diagnostic information, interpretation of manufacturer procedures, and identifying fault symptoms and causes, and that qualifications representing specialist areas of service and repair knowledge in forklifts and elevated work platforms be replaced by a restructure of AUR31216 Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology to create specialist elective streams.
  • The agricultural mechanical trade sector of the automotive industry makes strong use of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specifications, and industry in this sector requires training in electrical and mechanical principles, and diagnostic skills, so that a foundation in trade fundamentals can be built upon in OEM programs. The project modified the core and elective banks in AUR30416 Certificate III in Agricultural Mechanical Technology to emphasise fundamental skills in diagnosing and repairing systems, and Diagnose and repair’ units of competency have been edited to allow for contextualisation in both the agricultural mechanical, mobile plant and heavy road vehicle sectors.

The Automotive IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast indicates that sustained industry activity from key users of commercial vehicles, such as construction and mining, has led to increased commercial vehicle utilisation which in turn supports the demand for the allied sectors of servicing and repairs. As growth is forecast in the areas of mining and heavy construction (including mobile plants), heavy road transport and commercial vehicle utilisation, it is expected that jobs and skills demand in heavy vehicle-related sectors will be strong over the coming years. The final Motor Vehicle Census, relating to vehicles which were registered on 31st January 2021, finds that diesel vehicles increased to 26.4% of the national fleet, up from 20.9% in 2016, and while light rigid trucks have continued to have the largest growth rate in registrations, it is followed by articulated trucks with 4.6%, and heavy rigid trucks increased by 1.7%.

The Resource Industry Training Council’s (RITCWA) 2020 Mining/Oil and Gas Industry Snapshot states a number of mining companies and contractors servicing the industry continue to report a tightening of the skilled labour market for trades – particularly experienced heavy-duty diesel fitters/mechanics. The report also notes key maintenance roles such as diesel fitters/maintainers and electrical roles will require upskilling with a greater focus being placed on data related skills. The Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) modelled the extent of skill shortages across the automotive industry by sector at a national level for their Recommended JobTrainer Fund Qualifications submission. For occupations relating to the Mechanical Heavy subsector, the submission includes estimated shortages of heavy vehicle mechanics (2,279 positions), mobile plant mechanic (187 positions), mechanic - farm machinery (190 positions). The Skills Priority List includes Motor Mechanic (General), and Diesel Motor Mechanic under occupations in national shortage, with moderate future demand. The Hays’ list of the most in-demand skills for 2021 includes Heavy Diesel (HD) Fitters for the resources and mining jobs market, stating the existing skill shortages in this area show no sign of abating.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • 3212 Motor Mechanics
    • 8994 Motor Vehicle Parts and Accessories Fitters.

 

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,
    • 9419 Other Automotive Repair and Maintenance
    • 9429 Other Machinery and Equipment Repair and Maintenance.
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations
    • 3212 Motor Mechanics
    • 8994 Motor Vehicle Parts and Accessories Fitters.

 

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

  • AUR Automotive Retail, Service and Repair Training Package
  • Agricultural Mechanical Technology
    • AUR30412 - Certificate III in Agricultural Mechanical Technology
    • AUR30416 - Certificate III in Agricultural Mechanical Technology
    • AUR30420 - Certificate III in Agricultural Mechanical Technology.
  • Diesel Technology
    • AUR31412 - Certificate III in Automotive Diesel Fuel Technology
    • AUR31416 - Certificate III in Automotive Diesel Fuel Technology
    • AUR31420 - Certificate III in Automotive Diesel Fuel Technology
    • AUR31512 - Certificate III in Automotive Diesel Engine Technology
    • AUR31516 - Certificate III in Automotive Diesel Engine Technology
    • AUR31520 - Certificate III in Automotive Diesel Engine Technology.
  • Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology
    • AUR31112 - Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology
    • AUR31114 - Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology
    • AUR31116 - Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology
    • AUR31120 - Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology.
  • Mobile Plant Technology
    • AUR31212 - Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology
    • AUR31216 - Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology
    • AUR31220 - Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology.
  • Other Automotive Heavy Qualifications
    • AUR30605 - Certificate III in Automotive Specialist
    • AUR30611 - Certificate III in Automotive Specialist
    • AUR30899 - Certificate III in Automotive (Mechanical - Heavy Vehicle Road Transport)
    • AUR31712 - Certificate III in Forklift Technology
    • AUR31716 - Certificate III in Forklift Technology
    • AUR31812 - Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Trailer Technology
    • AUR31816 - Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Trailer Technology
    • AUR31820 - Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Trailer Technology
    • AUR31912 - Certificate III in Elevating Work Platform Technology
    • AUR31916 - Certificate III in Elevating Work Platform Technology
    • AUR32613 - Certificate III in Automotive Tyre Management
    • AUR32616 - Certificate III in Automotive Tyre Management.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

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

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 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%.

AUR Automotive Retail, Service and Repair Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.
Updated: 19 Jan 2022
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