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SAE-A plan to stop brain drain of car sector engineers

Australia needs a plan to prevent an automotive engineering skills drain when local car manufacturing ends, according to an engineering group.

Earlier this month, representatives from the Society of Automotive Engineers – Australasia (SAE-A) met with the Victorian Minister for manufacturing David Hodgett to discuss the issue of a skills drain.

The group proposed government support for engineers and technicians in transitioning to other industries in Australia.

The SAE-A suggested a program which would run from October 2014 to December 2017 and would include skills mapping for future employment, as well as one-on-one assistance on employment opportunities in new sectors.

In addition, the SAE-A proposed offering assistance to automotive engineers in finding opportunities to reskill, networking events and employer education about the benefits engineers can bring to businesses.

The SAE-A would also be willing to actively work with employers in non-automotive industries to facilitate employment opportunities.

According to the SAE-E, the Mr Hodgett stated that he would speak with his counterparts, Ian MacFarlane (Federal Minister for Industry) and Nick Wakeling (Victorian Minister for Skills and Higher Education) to encourage them to support the proposed program and to meet with the SAE-A.

The SAE-A estimates that more than 2,000 professional engineers and technicians are being made redundant across Australia – with up to 85% of those located in Victoria.

The SAE-A has also noted a sharp increase in the number of overseas companies advertising in Australia seeking automotive engineers for international postings.

Whilst historical data shows that many engineers eventually return to Australia, a large percentage do not, resulting in a permanent loss of skill and knowledge which is detrimental to national development.

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