PHILADELPHIA - Axalta Coating Systems 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 for 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, Australia. Well-equipped with ultramodern paint technology and repair equipment, Axalta’s training center gives access to technical trainers who instruct the students on 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 center, we provide the materials, the venue and a trainer to work alongside the TAFE trainer,” said Paul Polverino, Axalta’s National Training Manager. “Our aim is to show these talented young people that they can have a rewarding career in refinish and auto repair.”

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 apprentices in Australia drop out before completion.

“The average dropout rate for all apprentices is about 50%,” said 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% 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.”

With the successful graduation of the first students under this program, Axalta is committed to continue 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.