The benefits of international resourcing with Techs On The Move

Have you identified a shortage of skilled tradespeople in your workshop, but can’t find the right people locally to fill the void? Or perhaps you’re been scouring the labour market to try and bring your lead times down, or to grow your team?

Perhaps it’s time to consider international resourcing. It’s certainly not a cheap exercise, but as Gavin Stocks points out in the video below, it can be a great way to secure highly motivated, skilled and experienced tradespeople that bring the value of their training in from day 1.

Want to know more? Keen to chat about how Techs On The Move might be able to help your business? Please feel free to contact Gavin on [email protected] or 0437041154.

What makes a good automotive tradesperson?

There’s a massive range of skills and qualities that we could rattle on about in trying to answer that question! The mix of these things probably changes from workshop to workshop too, as our industry is a big and complex one – what trade, and are we talking cars or trucks, main dealer or independent, diagnostic technician or service technician?

When it all boils down though, we think there’s a key set of attributes (beyond mechanical competence) that come up time and again when good automotive tradespeople are pointed out by their managers, their customers or their peers. No matter what sort of role you have in the automotive industry, the following list is a golden set of traits we’ve collected over the years. We think any automotive tradesperson should be striving for these things if they want to be the best they can be in their trade, to really become industry professionals:

  • A positive attitude. This comes up time and again talking with workshop managers about their staff, with one of our favourites in Sydney often saying, “I can teach someone to fix cars well, but I can’t teach them to want to do it.” Being a motor mechanic – a good motor mechanic (or any other auto tradesperson) – is impossible if you’re not prepared to challenge yourself to do something with the job that keeps you motivated. It could be your raw passion for the vehicles, your hunger for more skills and knowledge, your love of team work, or hitting budgets – find what drives you and show it
  • Great communication skills. If you aspire to be a professional in your trade, the ability to communicate well with everyone around you is essential. There isn’t one way to show this either – being calm and understanding with a frustrated customer is a different communication skill to giving a service advisor a very clear and detailed set of notes on a complicated job they might have trouble understanding themselves. Either way, the key thing is to consider how well you will be understood, and how your message contributes to getting the best outcomes. Fixing cars or trucks is only part of the job
  • Attention to detail. This relates to obvious things like minimising mistakes, decreasing the time jobs take, or improving customer satisfaction results. However, there’s more to it than that. Really good tradespeople (as an example) know that changing engine oil is expected, but fixing that unreported dash rattle might not be, and when it’s fixed (and communicated!) that attention to detail will not go unnoticed
  • Master the commercial aspect of your job. It’s sometimes easy to let the money behind the industry impact your passion as a motor mechanic, but good tradespeople embrace the commercial realities of the trade and master them. This means using targets to inspire and show some leadership, understanding that when money is being make because targets are reached, it’s a recognition of effort and the value of your qualities as a good motor mechanic

The best thing for a lot of people to keep in mind here is that none of this requires you to be a master technician, to have decades of experience, or to specialise in one manufacturer or vehicle component. If you incorporate these points into the way you work in the automotive industry, you’ll be on your way to being a good motor mechanic no matter which stage of your career you’re at, even if you’re just setting off.

If you’d like to chat about your experience and finding the right role to push your career forward in the ways this blog discusses, we’re here to help:


The strengths of a motor mechanic career

Choosing a career as a motor mechanic is making a decision to join a time-honoured trade that has constantly evolved for over a century. Many of us fall into it through a family connection, whilst others are driven by a passion for their vehicle of choice. Others love problem solving and thrive on seeing things put right through hard work and patience. No matter your path into the trade, in any given workshop you’ll likely find another motor mechanic whose career was kicked off by the same impulse.

However, once you’ve begun your core training as a motor mechanic, or perhaps after gaining qualification, many of us unfortunately lose track of this original motivation. The daily grind sinks in easily, and many technicians find themselves wondering if their choice of career was the right one.

We’re not here to say that the answer is always yes – everyone is different after all. However, some of the motor mechanics we speak with often overlook the range of skills and experiences their career has allowed them to develop, and they undervalue themselves and the years of dedication their careers have taken to build. If this sounds like it might be you, consider that aside from fixing cars, trucks or motorbikes, you might also have learned:

  • Strong communication skills. Have you worked through challenging situations with a disgruntled customer, or gone the extra mile to ensure a technical problem is properly and easily explained to another staff member or vehicle owner? If you’ve been a motor mechanic for awhile, we bet the answer is yes and most people weren’t doing that on the first day they grabbed a spanner. These skills don’t come easy
  • How to work under pressure and meet targets. Is there a more modern skill than that? Every motor mechanic knows what it’s like to have 15 minutes to finish a job that should take 60, or to chase an end-of-month target when it’s all on the line. There aren’t many valued professional roles that don’t require this sort of experience
  • The value of teamwork. This is another modern consideration, and certainly one that pretty much every job under the sun lists as a requirement. If you were to change your path and pursue a new career, wouldn’t the skills and experiences you’ve picked up working with others in the workshop to solve complex problems, meet shared targets and overcome challenges likely be important?
  • Leadership skills. This doesn’t mean you have to have been a foreman, or to have supervised an apprentice, or to have been getting paid the big bucks as a manager – far from it. Most motor mechanics at some stage have realised that when they do their jobs well (whatever that means in their workshop), people often pay attention and the way they get treated changes for the better. Leading by example, even if just to prove something to yourself, is an easy skill to master as a motor mechanic because you can do it all by yourself. The great thing is that every employer no matter the industry loves to see this in action

Even if you’re new to the trade or considering getting into it, don’t assume that you too will hit a wall where inspiration drops and you’ll be stuck in a rut. Look to things like the list above (and others of your own that could be added) as a reminder that a career as a motor mechanic is more than just fixing vehicles, and that these skills have value well beyond the confines of the role. Your motor mechanic career is what you make of it.

Perhaps you’re at a stage in your career that you’re looking for the right role to push your career forward, or to continue to develop these skills as you work toward goals you have set for yourself? If so, or if you’d like to talk more about what this could mean, we’d love to get in touch – it all starts here:



How to stand out in a tough automotive market

If you work in the aftersales department of a commercial dealership, whether it be cars, trucks or motor bikes, chances are you know your managers are feeling the pinch at the moment. As a result, you might be too!

It’s no secret that the Australian automotive industry is not performing as well lately as it had been over the past half a dozen years or so, and this mostly comes down to large changes in the national economy that businesses can’t control. The bulk of this has been felt in sales, and to compensate for lower numbers of sold vehicles, there’s a greater focus now than ever before on extracting maximum value from aftersales. It’s a big adjustment for Aussie businesses to make, but one that other markets like the UK have long since figured out.

What does this mean for technicians now though? All around the country, we’re hearing of changes to shift structures, bonus programs, and overtime patterns, all normally aimed at increasing the workshop’s profitability. It’s easy sometimes as a technician to feel challenged by these changes, as not only does it often mean a shift in the way the job is done, but it can remove some earning potential too, and no one likes that!

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. If anything, whilst some dealers are doing it tough, now might be the ideal time to step up and push your career forward. Our clients around the country tell us that their most valued team members are those that are using this period of change as an opportunity to show everyone around them what they’re made of, and lead from the front.

They’re not just talking about foremen, master techs or their most experienced people either. It could be someone just out of their apprenticeship, going out of their way to push for efficiency targets or to inspire the technician next to them to smash a team goal; it could be a great tech that’s putting effort into better communication with their service advisors, delivering better customer service and boosting CSI outcomes. That’s the beauty of acting as a leader – anyone can do it, it tends to rub off, and the right people notice.

And, importantly, when the pressure on aftersales eases, or a manager needs to select a tech for promotion or training, who do you think they’ll be rewarding?

If you are seizing the chance to drive yourself forward and you’re looking for the next challenge, or you’re looking for a role where you can show what you’re made of, we’d love to chat about it:


What inspires you in automotive?

Most people get into the automotive industry because of an underlying passion in cars (or trucks). It doesn’t matter if you’re a technician, a workshop controller, a service advisor or a service manager – the journey of your career so far probably started because you thought these machines were awesome and working with them every day made some sort of sense.

At some point though it’s easy to lose sight of this passion, as your love of the thing that once made you tick is harder to be inspired by when you’re under pressure to meet deadlines, hit targets, and pay your own bills. People get bogged down and disillusioned, and nothing good comes of that. You can’t flourish into an automotive professional whilst you’re stuck in a rut.

In chatting to hundreds of technicians (and their managers) every year, there are two things that the most inspired (and happiest) people in automotive have in common the most.

First up, these people have their own drive.

They have a drive perhaps to learn as much as they can, or to prove to themselves or those around them that they can achieve a goal. Perhaps they have a drive to improve their understanding of their trade, their role or the industry itself. In the best scenario, some of these people have the drive to help others do whatever it is that drives them, and that brings us to the other thing uniting some of the happiest automotive workers.

These people also often show that they are a leader.

Leadership doesn’t always mean you run your own team, that you answer to big bosses, or that you make the big bucks. Automotive leaders think, work and act in ways that show they care about what they do, and that people around them should care too. In automotive, the best leaders think about how they can improve and learn from every new challenge, rather than looking for easy fixes or a quick exit when things get tough.

If you’re wondering what your future in automotive is, or you’re digging deep when a job isn’t going well, we think it’s worth asking yourself about these things. What is driving you to do this job, and how can concentrating on this make things better? Hopefully you’ll also ask, can I show myself and others that I’m a leader?



Techs On The Move works with Australia’s most desirable automotive businesses, where managers across the country are always looking for people like this to grow their ‘A team’.

If you think you’ve got drive (and maybe some leadership) behind you and need a change, or if you’re looking for an environment where you can build on these qualities, drop us a line here:


A Comprehensive guide to Motor Mechanics

Motor Mechanic: The Ultimate Guide

auto mechanic fixing a carThe whole meaning of being a qualified motor mechanic, or even a service technician, has changed so much in the last few decades that it’s worth actually sitting back and thinking about every now and again. As automotive industry experts that speak with and regularly visit hundreds of service managers, HR managers, workshop controllers, and of course qualified motor mechanics themselves, we’ve certainly taken note of this dramatic evolution of the job. With loads of technological change, new concepts in transport, and changing business structures all accelerating, it’s an exciting time to be a motor mechanic or service technician.

In Australia, it’s difficult to imagine now but it wasn’t very long ago when fuel cost under AUD $1 per litre, and big 6 or 8 cylinder engines dominated the roads! Even features that we take for granted like power windows were not standard in many vehicles a mere 20 years-odd ago, and a brand-new car might have had 2 airbags if you were lucky. And infotainment? The word barely even existed yet, and you definitely couldn’t specialise in it!


What Makes a Great Motor Mechanic?

While there are a number of skills that are important for any aspiring motor mechanic. There are a select set of non-skill attributes that we think any motor mechanic or technician should be striving to:

  • A positive Attitude
  • Great Communication Skills
  • Attention to Detail
  • Mastering understanding of Commercials

Remembering that the above skills should be something you work on from day one on your journey to becoming a master motor mechanic.

Motor Mechanic Certification

There are several ways to look at understanding automotive technician certification depending on a person’s location or motivation in considering this. Some will be eager to understand the pathway toward becoming a professional motor mechanic, whilst others may wish to see how their own qualifications abroad stack up against what is required in Australia. Ultimately, the Australian certification system for automotive tradespeople is similar to the processes of many other countries and is designed to provide the industry with qualified technicians that have a sound basis in the core knowledge of their trade.


Motor Mechanic Schooling Requirements

Just as much as technology is changing the way we get around, the role of a motor mechanic is changing too. The job is getting more technical, less dirty, and requires a more sophisticated set of skills than ever before. Accordingly, the coming generation of motor mechanics will need to be prepared differently. This could potentially mean some advanced schooling is required to understand the new systems in place.

Meanwhile, don’t expect the apprenticeship stage to go away. There is a lot of value in training through working under another and is something that cannot be taught in a school. Additionally, there will still be a number of qualifications recognized both locally and nationally that will be important for any mechanic to obtain as part of their career schooling requirements.


Motor Mechanic Salaries

In Australia, the minimum annual salary for a skilled technician being sponsored for a visa is $53,900 AUD. This is based on the TSMIT or Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold which is set to be about equal to the average salary earned by Australian mechanics and technicians.

There are a number of additional benefits which will help your salary package increase if you choose to work in Australia. This can include overtime or superannuation both of which can push the total possible salary package well above the minimum.

Read about Australian Motor Mechanic salaries and the extra benefits in our article


How to Become a Professional Motor Mechanic

There is a lot to becoming a professional motor mechanic. But there are some clear defining understandings that a person needs to have to be successful in their career.

A professional motor mechanic is:

  • Someone who understands the trade is not common to most people
  • Aware that becoming a master mechanic takes years
  • Always looking to become more professional
  • Understanding their work contributes to society in an important way
  • Understanding the trade allows avenues for self-improvement


What’s in Store in The Future for Motor Mechanics?

There’s been lots of discussion within (and outside of) the automotive industry about the changing role of motor mechanics as we power toward the electric vehicle age. Many have predicted that these new technologies will significantly reduce maintenance and repair requirements, prompting people to wonder whether there will even be a need for motor mechanics as the years tick by. Indeed, the term ‘qualified motor mechanic’ itself seems likely to come under fire as we move into a generation of electric vehicles.

We can’t wait for this revolutionary technology and the changes it will bring to the automotive industry – it promises cleaner, safer, and more efficient travel for us all.

However, we don’t believe this means the death or motor mechanics or the end of service technicians; rather, it’s going to demand more evolution, just like the incorporation of other market-changing technologies like power windows, curtain airbags and infotainment systems. The technicians of today already have a very different skill set to the previous generation, and the best out there know that to stay at the top of their field they need to constantly learn and grow, always bringing new skills to the job of being a motor mechanic and driving their trade forward.

The industry we work in has changed a lot too and will continue to do so as vehicle technologies evolve. Never before has there been such value placed on motor mechanics with sounds diagnostic, fault finding and electrical skills, and as our cars and trucks get ‘smarter’ and more efficient, you can bet this will only ever become more resounding. Manufacturers, main dealers and independent repairers alike will rely more on those technicians that can work methodically and creatively to remedy more and more complex vehicle systems. Almost as important are technicians who can help those around them understand these systems, whether it’s other motor mechanics in the workshop, or vehicle owners and users. More than ever before, a good motor mechanic is a great communicator.

People who don’t get this may ask ‘how will being a motor mechanic or service technician stay the same with electric cars and trucks?’ The short answer is, we’ve all been changing constantly for decades – we’re used to it! The most professional qualified motor mechanics out there embrace this, use their mastery to their advantage, and will define their own future.

Looking for a motor mechanic job abroad? Techs on The Move can help you to get in contact with employers in Australia looking to hire experienced motor mechanics. We specialise in creating a personalised experience to help you to get placed in the right position. Contact us now for a free consultation.

Is it worth the expense and effort of sponsoring techs?

Let’s face it – sponsoring automotive tradespeople from abroad is an expensive process that requires commitment and patience. The upfront cost is tough to swallow and looks horrible in a monthly budget, and that’s sometimes enough to dissuade managers and human resources people in the automotive industry from going ahead, even if they know that there’s insufficient resources available on the local market to get the workshop humming. The risk of sponsoring an under-qualified person also poses concerns, and the complications of the visa process can be bewildering.

International sponsorship will never be everyone’s cup of tea, but here’s a few things to consider if you’re on the fence:

  • If you’ve got big lead times and empty bays, you need techs. Having work booked for weeks in advance is great for business confidence, but lead times of more than a week have a proven negative impact on customer retention and satisfaction
  • Further to this point, if the work exists but you’ve got non-productive bays for lack of the right techs, you’re missing income straight to the bottom line. You’re already paying the rent on the space and the equipment but you’re earning none of the profit, which means you’re missing thousands of dollars per week, let-alone how this stacks up over the course of a typical 4 year visa term if you had a sponsored tech on hand
  • How’s the depth of experience in your workshop? Our technicians coming from overseas typically have years of experience highly relevant to different roles or manufacturers, and there’s few things we enjoy more than service managers telling us their new recruit is leading the way. Even if you’re doing a great job of attracting apprentices (which is fantastic), do you have the right people around to support them?
  • Love the impact quality training can make in your workshop but frustrated by the cost? What if you could hire in a manufacturer or specialist certified technician from abroad that brings all the benefit without the training expense and time away from the workshop?
  • Our Candidate Pool presents migration-ready tradespeople who understand exactly what they’re facing in coming to Australia. It’s not a collection of random CVs, and as registered migration agents we’ve thoroughly vetted them all to ensure they’re suitable for Australian employers. They’re motivated and enthusiastic for new challenges, and often inject a boost of positivity into our client’s workshops when they’re well supported

Keen to know more about how international resourcing of skilled tradespeople can drive your workshop and aftersales results in the right direction? By all means give Nat Richards a call on 0429468754, or drop him a line at [email protected]

Differentiating prepared and unprepared foreign candidates

If you’re advertising for technicians for an Australian automotive workshop, chances are you’ve had people from overseas apply (and probably not enough Aussies to go along with them!). If you’re lucky you might even have had some gold come in, with a technician abroad that has impressive experience or qualifications that would be perfect for your team.

If you’re patient and prepared to invest some time into finding out more, you might then get in touch with this candidate across a time zone difference and interview them for a position. However, we’re told this is where it often starts to unravel for most, as questions about the job itself (easy to answer) are soon replaced by how it’s possible for this person to start (hard to answer), and moving forward becomes a minefield.

From that point, simply hiring a migration agent may not be the solution either, as they are seldom positioned to answer the candidate’s very understandable concerns, which likely centre around healthcare, schooling, income, cost of living, relocation, accommodation and more. They might be great at filing an accurate and dependable visa application, but answering these questions isn’t in the agent’s job description any more than it’s in yours. We know that because we are migration agents, and we’ve worked in automotive!

Furthermore, even if a visa is then approved, how can you be sure your new technician (and perhaps their family) understands how to successfully establish themselves here on the other side of the world, allowing you to benefit from their best work?

That’s where Techs On The Move presents an alternative. Our clients have long understood that when we’re presenting a candidate for your consideration, that candidate has benefited from hours of specialist consultancy and personalised educative content on what they can expect in moving to Australia. Our candidates aren’t just highly skilled and professionally vetted, they’re individually preparedfor making the commitment to relocate, making the process of hiring them not only much easier, but also much more likely to succeed.

As auto-specific Registered Migration Agents, we’re also a 1-stop-shop to make it happen from initial intro to swinging spanners.

We’re also happy to apply these same preparation processes to any candidates you might unearth overseas yourself, ensuring that you’re able to get the most out of the fruits of your own advertising, staff referrals or direct enquiry. All you need to do is let us know and we’ll make that side of your business much easier.

To find out more please contact our lead candidate consultant Nat Richards on 0429468754 or at [email protected]

So Just How Bad Are Our Skills Shortages?

So Just How Bad Are Our Skills Shortages?

t’s a constant source of frustration for most automotive workshop managers and business owners we speak to around the country – the availability of experienced and dependable staff.

The overwhelming majority of our clients are used to posting ads online looking for the right people only to have really disappointing returns. They might find the odd qualified candidate, but more often than not those that respond are either way off the mark, or contacting from all corners of the world with uncertain credentials and no clear pathway to Australia.Just how bad are our skills shortages though? It’s a tough question to answer, as reliable sources are hard to come by. Most recently, a report by the MTAA suggests that the national shortage of passenger vehicle technicians is approaching 20,000 people, which is a stark figure considering a total number of less than 100,000 employed across the country in this role. That doesn’t even account for diesel techs and panel/paint technicians.

Even if you look at this report with scepticism though, our travels suggest that just about every workshop, be it dealer or independent, could use a person with the right skills. Even if this was just the one motor mechanic, diesel mechanic, panel beater or vehicle painter in each of these businesses (and it’s often multiples), that’s going to be a very big number! That’s a hell of a lot of missing profit against the bottom line of hundreds (if not thousands) of businesses.

Here’s yet another way of looking at it: how many of these workshops are tolerating an employee that management would love to replace with someone more focused and productive, but cannot for lack of options on the local labour market? That could be an even bigger number, tied to yet more inefficiency and lost income for Australian automotive employers. This is even more pressing for car dealer-based workshops as sales profits edge closer to zero. If you’re only making money in the backend and you’re selling cars just to service them, your techs better be good.

Our business is dedicated to sourcing high quality automotive tradespeople from abroad to help local workshops navigate these challenges, as well as providing specialist migration services for those that have found their own. That’s all we do, and our track record is made up of clients all over the country that plan and strategise to minimise the impact of local labour shortages.

Our clients know how to look ahead, and they have to, as most are surprised at the low number of foreign automotive tradespeople entering the country on sponsored visas every year. The Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that across motor mechanics, diesel mechanics and panel beaters, yearly totals have been around 1000 people per year for some time. Only 150-odd of these are British, where the skills and communication abilities are most akin to our own.

This means that if you’re going to hire from overseas, you’ve got to be paying close attention and thinking ahead. The best way to do that is with Techs On The Move’s digital Candidate Pool, where fully vetted and prepared automotive tradespeople from overseas are waiting to be contacted. Better yet, our subscription-based service offsets a good chunk of the dreaded Skilling Australia Fund levy, making it both cheaper and more efficient to source good staff with us than ever before. Find our more here:

Do we pump the brakes on the workshop too in a slow market?

Do we pump the brakes on the workshop too in a slow market?

It’s no secret that there’s not a lot of fun being had in premium car showrooms right now. The momentum of the last 5 years has trailed off, seemingly overrun by our collective concern over the changing state of the housing market, apprehension before a looming federal election, and the impact of restrictive new rules around finance in automotive.

As we’ve been told recently by one DP, “it’s like someone’s turning the tap off on every revenue stream we had.”

The downturn is real for sure, and uncertainty around the future disruption of automotive sales is more uncomfortable now than ever before.

However, if we hear one thing consistently in our travels around the country visiting dealers and talking shop, it’s that most workshops are still chugging along pretty well, some really well even. In a lot of businesses, there’s still at least one revenue stream well and truly holding its own.

This shouldn’t be a surprise, not just because of the time-honoured assumption that less cars being sold means more cars being kept and serviced, but because businesses seem to be understanding more than ever before that the money is all in the back end now.

That’s right sales-orientated dealers of Australia: if you want to make money in your dealership, you better make sure that aftersales is slick and has the tools to succeed. More than any time in recent memory, aftersales is likely your main breadwinner, and that’s set to continue a while yet, maybe forever.

What this means for different businesses and groups all over Australia during the sales slump no doubt varies a lot. For some, it might mean a greater focus on recouping the time technicians take through their day-to-day processes and minimising wasted effort that doesn’t get rewarded; for others, it might mean targeted campaigns to a customer base for parts sales that drive up labour sales too, as we’ve seen from one forward-thinking Sydney based group recently.

For many though, it might mean that the impulse to clamp down on total spending in a downturn needs to be weighed differently when it comes to aftersales. If there’s work to be done and customers waiting, but not enough techs on hand to meet demand, it’ll remain an uphill battle to meet the targets every retailer needs to hit now more than ever. It’s all about balancing resources.

And it’s not just a question of more techs, but the right techs. Surveying the performance of different teams in our major cities with some helpful service managers, we’re seeing that hiring on attitude often gets the best rewards.

That doesn’t simply mean employing techs happy to be at work (which is important), but techs that are ready to work flexibly and intelligently toward the best outcomes. Brand familiarity comes with time, but techs that start on day 1 accustomed to maximising revenue and CSI scores, as well as nailing warranty procedures, are worth their weight in gold.

Here at Techs On The Move, this is exactly the sort of tradesperson we’re committed to sourcing for our subscription-based Candidate Pool. If you’d like to know more, please drop Nat Richards a line at [email protected] or 0429468754