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Automotive Electrical


This page provides information and data on the Automotive Electrical sector, which is one component of the Automotive industry.

The Automotive Electrical sector covers the installation, service, repair and overhaul of electrical systems and components within vehicles and machinery. Activities include air-conditioning services, battery sales and the sales of new and overhauled parts.

Nationally recognised training for the Automotive Electrical Services industry sector is delivered under the AUR – Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair Training Package.

For information on other automotive related industry sectors, visit the Automotive cluster page.

Information sourced from the Automotive IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The industry class associated with the Automotive Electrical sector is Automotive Electrical Services. The census data indicates that in 2016, there were approximately 5,800 people employed in this sector, down slightly from just over 6,000 in 2006. By far the largest occupation within this industry class is Automotive Electricians, about 63% of employment in this industry class in 2016.

The number of those employed as Automotive Electricians has varied considerably over the period between 2000 and 2014, however, since 2014 employment levels have steadily declined. In 2019, there were approximately 5,800 Automotive Electricians, substantially less than in 2014 when there was approximately 10,300. Employment numbers are predicted to continue this downward trend to 2024.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were close to 4,740 program enrolments in Automotive Electrical-related qualifications in 2018 and over 2,160 completions. Both program enrolments and completions have decreased between 2017 and 2018.

Program enrolments were relatively evenly split between certificate II (51%) and certificate III (49%) level qualifications in 2018, with more than half enrolled in the qualification cluster of Automotive Electrical Technology (56%) and the remaining 44% enrolled in Automotive Air Conditioning Technology. The main intended occupations were Automotive Electrician and Mechanic’s Assistant.

In 2018, almost two thirds of courses were delivered by TAFE institutes (63%), with 30% delivered by private training providers. Overall, Commonwealth and state government funding accounted for 65%, with most the remaining funded through domestic fee for service (28%). More than one quarter of students were from Queensland (27%), followed by 22% from New South Wales, 21% from Victoria and 17% from Western Australia. 

More than a quarter of training was delivered in Queensland (28%), followed by Victoria (24%), New South Wales (23%) and Western Australia (18%).

After increasing overall between 2010 and 2017, apprentice and trainee commencements have decreased slightly from 870 in 2017 to 840 in 2018. There were approximately 380 completions, the lowest level recorded over the last nine years. The apprenticeships were mostly aimed at the intended occupation of Automotive Electrician.

As at December 2018, almost one third of the apprenticeships were reported in Queensland (32%), followed by New South Wales (23%), Western Australia (17%) and Victoria (16%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Automotive IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast ranks a list of generic skills in order of importance for each industry sector. The top five ranked generic skills for the Light Vehicle sector (which includes Automotive Electrical) are:

  • Technology use and application
  • Language, literacy and numeracy (LLN)
  • Design mindset/Thinking critically/System thinking/Solving problems
  • Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
  • Communication/Collaboration including virtual collaboration/Social intelligence.

The Automotive IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast indicates that technological change is impacting on the skill needs of this sector. Research suggests that the proportion of electrical components may now account for up to 20% of the vehicle’s value, up from 13% in 2015. Some of this changing technology and increase in electrical components relate to:

  • Increased number of passenger vehicles fitted with electronic engines, braking and steering systems
  • Autonomous technologies to improve safety, such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that employ lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control
  • Novel technologies to improve user experience including haptic sensors, 3D laminated glass and augmented reality heads up displays.

In addition, the evolution of hybrid and battery electric vehicles along with increased consumer demand for larger, greener and more fuel efficient vehicles means technicians must have evolving skill sets so they are able to sufficiently diagnose, service and repair all types of vehicles on the road. A report by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering which examined the readiness of different Australian industry sectors to develop, adopt, and adopt new and emerging technologies found that the Australian transport sector was unprepared in a range of areas, one of which included skills availability with regards to low and zero emission vehicles, connected autonomous vehicles and high frequency mass transport.

As highlighted in the Automotive IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, industry consultations have supported the need to review a range of qualifications, including those within the Light Vehicle sector (inclusive of Automotive Electrical). The increasingly complex electronic components in motor vehicles are supporting demand for higher-level electrical qualifications, and overall industry feedback is that the knowledge required of a technician is increasing as result of growing vehicle complexity. There is significant skill demand for fault diagnosis and mechanical and electrical repair of modern vehicle systems, including semi-automatic driving technologies such as park assist, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking.

The report Future Job Openings for New Entrants by Industry and Occupation forecasts that for Automotive Electricians and Mechanics, 61.1% of job openings between 2017–24 will be due to replacement demand. Much of this is due to people leaving the job. This in turn could have implications for training as there will be fewer experienced workers to supervise apprentices.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC)

Automotive Air Conditioning, Electrical and Cooling Technicians of Australasia (VASA)


Employee associations

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union


Relevant research

Future Job Openings for New Entrants by Industry and Occupation – Shah C 2018

Shifting Gears: Preparing for a Transport Revolution: Transport Industry Technology Readiness – Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 3211 Automotive Electricians.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1st November 2018 Employed total by ANZSCO, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter

  • 3211 Automotive Electricians.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work2006 Census –labour force TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 4 digit ANZSIC,
    • 9411 Automotive Electrical Services.                          

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • AUR Automotive Retail, Service and Repair Training Package
  • Automotive Air-conditioning Technology
    • AUR20212 - Certificate II in Automotive Air Conditioning Technology
    • AUR20216 - Certificate II in Automotive Air Conditioning Technology
    • AUR20218 - Certificate II in Automotive Air Conditioning Technology
  • Automotive Electrical Technology
    • AUR20408 - Certificate II in Automotive Electrical Technology
    • AUR20412 - Certificate II in Automotive Electrical Technology
    • AUR20416 - Certificate II in Automotive Electrical Technology
    • AUR30308 - Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology
    • AUR30312 - Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology
    • AUR30316 - Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology
    • AUR40612 - Certificate IV in Automotive Electrical Technology
    • AUR40616 - Certificate IV in Automotive Electrical Technology.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

AUR Automotive Retail, Service and Repair Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions 
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Generic skills data have been extracted from the Automotive IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 31 Mar 2020
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