Apprenticeships, Automotive industry, Polytechnic, Skills and training, TAFE

The modern approach to training apprentices

In our rapidly evolving industry, traditional classroom-based training that many of us experienced as an apprentice is making way for a new model and standard of training.

MTA NSW has been at the forefront of this shift for over 20 years now, championing an on-site training model that brings education directly to the workshop.

The training philosophy centres on providing apprentices with real-time, hands-on experiences directly at their place of work. This approach allows learners to always be learning in a practical setting, on real jobs in their environment. It creates a direct relationship between the business owner and the trainer so there’s no guesswork when it comes to progress and any areas for improvement can be addressed based on individual needs.

Herein lies the limitation of the classroom environment. With the apprentices of today, it’s a tough ask to have one teacher in a classroom to try to cater for everyone’s individual needs with varying degrees of capability all with different learning styles and backgrounds. Where some learners thrive in the social setting of a classroom, it would seem that most get the benefit from a one-on-one approach.

The model itself isn’t revolutionary, but MTA NSW has made it commercially viable and positioned training requirements to align with the needs of the industry. Put simply, the training is one-on-one based on an agreed training schedule at your workshop. There’s real-time feedback and each trainer is invested in the development and learning of each apprentice at an individual level. In fact, they’re measured on that performance.

Image: MTA NSW

Backing the numbers

The latest data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), the reporting body for training organisations had MTA NSW higher than the industry average on nearly every indicator, from student satisfaction to learning outcomes, and everything in between.

Australian Car Mechanic asked MTA NSW Chief Executive Officer, Stavros Yallouridis, what he thought of the shift away from the traditional classroom setting and whether one-on-one training was the best model.

“Apprentices are inherently different,” Yallouridis said.

“They have different needs and preferences, so we don’t see our model as competing with the traditional classroom, we see it as complimentary.”

“We’re providing options to employers and students to learn in the way that is best suited to them. That’s why we procured My Trade Start last year, so we can offer the flexibility each business requires and what best suits the industry.”

As the automotive industry evolves with increasingly sophisticated technologies, the ability to adapt educational strategies to meet the immediate and future needs of apprentices and employers becomes crucial.

This nuanced approach to training acknowledges that no two apprentices are the same. Individualised training schedules and curriculum that consider personal aptitudes and learning speeds are not just beneficial but necessary for cultivating proficient technicians.

By facilitating training that occurs within the context of the apprentice’s daily work environment, MTA NSW ensures that the learning process is as relevant and immediate as possible. This method helps apprentices to better retain information and apply their new knowledge directly to their tasks at hand.

In speaking with business owners who have adopted the MTA NSW model, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Many report that the integration of training with daily work processes not only enhances learning outcomes but also increases productivity.

Built better

The direct engagement between trainers and business owners allows for tailored feedback, ensuring that apprentices’ training closely aligns with the specific operational needs of their employers.

The broader implications of this shift in training methodology are significant. As the industry moves towards more sustainable practices and electric vehicles become more prevalent, the need for technicians to be skilled in new technologies is rapidly increasing.

“It’s about more than just keeping pace with change; it’s about anticipating it,” Yallouridis added.

“Our training programs are designed to build a foundation of knowledge while also adapting to new developments as they arise. This ensures our apprentices are not just fit for today’s market but are well-prepared for the future of the industry.”

The success of the MTA NSW training model might well be a beacon for similar industries grappling with the fast pace of technological and procedural changes. It offers a compelling blueprint for how training programs can evolve to meet the demands of the modern workplace, providing a robust framework that supports both apprentice development and industry advancement.

To learn more about the one-on-one training model visit here.

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