Esther Bullock works as an apprentice mechanic and studies at TAFE.
Esther Bullock works as an apprentice mechanic and studies at TAFE. Cathy Adams

OPINION: Let's make automotive trades attractive again

MECHANICS, panel beaters, auto-electricians, locksmiths - we often only give these automotive tradies a call when something goes wrong with our car.

But have you thought about who will be there to call in the future?

I was invited recently to an open day hosted by TAFE Queensland. It's an annual event designed to give school leavers a taste of the opportunities available to them when they enter the big bad world.

It's also a chance for employers, industry and the public to look at how apprentices are trained.

Funnily enough, the next day I was reading about the difficulties the industry has in attracting and retaining tradespeople.

This wasn't exactly breaking news - it's been a point of discussion for years and it's something I talked about with the TAFE representatives. They're seeing the effects first-hand and the trend is troubling.

It concerns me we're spending huge amounts on training apprentices only to have them walk away from their trade within a few years of completing their training.

Maybe it's time we had a grown-up discussion about what it takes to make trades attractive again - or who's going to be there next time your car needs a tune-up?