Axalta Coating Systems recently celebrated the success of its partnership with educational institute TAFE New South Wales with the graduation of its inaugural program’s first students. TAFE, or Technical and Further Education, is Australia’s leading provider of vocational education and training courses. The program will help address Australia’s shortage of skilled technicians for auto repair and refinish, with nearly 5000 technicians needed to maintain industry sustainability.
Axalta’s alliance with TAFE NSW began in 2016. After the closure of TAFE course facilities at Mount Druitt, Axalta welcomed students to its facility in nearby Riverstone, Western Sydney. Well-equipped with the latest in paint technology and repair equipment, Axalta’s training centre gives access to technical trainers who instruct the students in the latest application techniques, evolving digital technologies and repair processes. As an automotive OEM partner, Axalta is well-placed to share the latest requirements and developments for a wide range of vehicle makes.
“At our Riverstone training centre, we provide the materials, the venue and a trainer to work alongside the TAFE trainer,” says Paul Polverino, Axalta’s National Training Manager. “Our aim is to show these talented young people that they can have a rewarding career in auto repair and refinish.”
In this regard, the partnership has been an incredible success. Around 90% of students who take the course through TAFE NSW and train at Axalta’s Riverstone facility continue with their study, where typically, half of the apprentices in Australia drop out before completion.
“The average dropout rate for all apprentices is about 50 percent,” says Carl Tinsley, the Autobody Repair and Surface Coatings teacher at TAFE NSW, Campbelltown. “But we found that with the Axalta course, we have a 90 percent retention rate. They receive hands-on training on modern technology and repair techniques, and can see how all of that turns into a well-paying job.”
Under the training and support of the partnership, each student has now successfully completed their Certificate III Vehicle Painting Apprenticeship. The first apprentices were recognised in an awards presentation in late June, where I-CAR Australia’s OEM & Operations Co-ordinator, Jason Trewin, was there to present the six graduates with their I-CAR Platinum Certificate.
“I-CAR congratulates the first group of apprentices to successfully complete their training. The initiative shown by the whole team at the Axalta training centre and the refinish staff at Campbelltown College should be commended for their efforts,” said Trewin.
“With the successful graduation of the first students under this program, Axalta is committed to continuing its support of additional apprentices who seek a career in auto repair and refinishing as an integral element of Axalta’s passion for sustainability and strength in the industry’s future.”
Editor: What a great initiative – congratulations to all involved.