A new Victorian light vehicle pilot program aims to help get more women into apprenticeships in the automotive industry.
Launched by Women in Automotive (WinA) and the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC), Accelerating Women into Automotive (AWIA) is a state-funded program seeking to address seeking the automotive gender imbalance and wider industry skills shortage.
The program is funded by the Apprenticeship Innovation Fund, an initiative of the Victorian Department of Education and Training.
AWIA forms part of the Victorian Government’s new Women in Apprenticeships fund, which seeks to support 615 women into apprenticeships and traineeships under a $5 million fund aimed at growing the state’s pool of skilled workers, and reversing a trend of women only accounting for 6.3 per cent of major automotive qualifications.
The VACC describes the program as “an exciting initiative for women who are wondering if automotive is the industry for them, and for businesses who are looking for new apprentices.”
The program offers a four-week introduction to the automotive industry, providing experience in a variety of roles.
Participants will receive training at a Registered Training Provider, assistance in getting work placement in an appropriate workplace and help to enter into an apprenticeship.
Though the program covers the automotive sector, there is scope to convert light vehicle mechanics into heavy-duty industry.
In recent times, programs have emerged to upskill light vehicle mechanics to the heavy duty sector, with Scania being a case in point. It recently announced funded upskilling to help fill roles for diesel technicians at its nine company-owned workshops.
Automotive businesses who provide work placement to AWIA participants will receive free diversity training for their employees and, at the end of the work placement, businesses can offer an apprenticeship to their participant. Program facilitators will provide support throughout the program and as participants transition into their apprenticeship.
“WinA exists to attract, recruit and retain women across all levels and sectors of automotive, so we hope this will encourage more women to join and change the gender perception that has long been associated with the industry,” said VACC lead strategy and policy and WinA manager Imogen Reid.
“At the completion of the program, we hope participants will feel excited to join the industry and undertake their full apprenticeship.
“By providing the right training and employment opportunities, we aim to increase the completion rates of female apprentices in automotive.
“We’re excited by the opportunity this program presents – effectively breaking down barriers to entry for both women, and businesses who would like to employ more women.”