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Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) has welcomed the federal government’s recent 2020-21 Budget announcement outlining a number of stimulus funding measures aimed at creating jobs and boosting the skills of Australians, helping them back into the employment sector.

To support job seekers, the Government’s Economic Recovery Plan aims to fund 100,000 new apprenticeships through the $1.2 billion Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy. The subsidy is paid to businesses taking on apprentices from 5 October 2020 to 30 September 2021, covering wages paid in that period capped at $7,000 per quarter.

IAL National Service Manager, Brett Stewart, noted that the initiative will bring required support to many sectors, and is particularly welcomed within the Australian automotive and transport technical skills sector.

“The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements will not only be pivotal in rebuilding Australia’s economy in the longer term, it will also go a long way to safeguard the future of the automotive and road transport skills sector,” Mr Stewart said.

“Road transport has been placed under considerable strain of late, due to the pandemic and associated distancing measures. Truck drivers, operators, freight and logistics teams have been working tirelessly on the back of the unprecedented spike in last mile delivery demand.

“These latest stimulus measures and incentives for employers will help attract and retain talent across a number of sectors, helping to bridge the skills shortfall were currently experiencing.”

According to the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), operators have been struggling to meet demand with the broader industry already grappling with an ageing workforce and skills shortages well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“This has been on our roadmap for some time. Isuzu Trucks have been committed to contributing to the direct experience of our service technicians. As an example, earlier this year, IAL joined Mildura Truck Centre in donating a brand new medium-duty Isuzu truck to the Sunraysia Institute of TAFE in regional Victoria,” Mr Stewart said.

“At IAL, we are invested in training the next generation of technicians. Every year we host the National Technical Skills Competition where nominated Isuzu technicians are tested on vehicle inspections, systems management, practical assembly, diagnosis, repair tests, mechanical measuring and problem-solving.

“The competition tests technicians from our local Isuzu network, and representatives are then chosen to participate in the Isuzu World Technical Competition, better known as the I-1 Grand Prix (I-1 GP) in Japan,” he added.

Retention based initiatives such as the I-1 GP concept reiterate Isuzu’s promise of quality and reliability by creating a competitive environment where dealerships strive to provide top quality servicing, diagnostics and repair—while supporting the automotive and transport industry by boosting skills throughout the talent pool.

“It’s been encouraging to see the easing of COVID restrictions across the country, and IAL is committed to support the road transport sector, from our ongoing service and support to our truck customers, through to our efforts in supporting the steady growth of apprentices in the sector,” concluded Mr Stewart.