Auto Glass Certification Program For NSW Operators
NSW Auto Glass Repairers should be aware the Australian Government have thought now is good timing to introduce licensing and certification programs into our industry. This means as of September 1 2020, auto glass technicians performing windscreen repair work on NSW soil will be required to be an employee/contractor for a licensed auto glass company. In addition, as an individual auto glazier you must be certified.
Australian Auto Glass Association
Recent information published by the Australian Auto Glass Association suggested it was submitting a response to the paper and had encouraged its members to assist with input. Service 8 also made inquiries and representatives of Services NSW were unsure of any details and directed us to websites and general information. The information we have been told is that, “The regulation is new and we are unable to provide documentation at this time”.
I’m not too sure how to react regarding the results of our inquiry? I’m amazed that the certification has a date set to be implemented, but the people who are implementing it are not sure of the details, certification, etc. It would make sense to know the plan first, before implementing the plan, not the other way around. But what do I know? I’m just a windscreen technician trying to work it out.
Auto Glass Training & Certification
Many of us have completed similar certification to the proposed “Cert II” already, however, this older certification may not be sufficient. Going forward if you wish to practice your work in NSW, mobile or otherwise, you may require evidence of the new certification. Certificate II in Automotive Glazing.
What About Training For Long Serving Techs & Business Owners?
There is a marginal chance long servicing technicians may be given a pass, or a shortened/accelerated course based on current experience. However, I believe this is an optimistic expectation and should not to taken for granted. It’s likely you will be forced back to school to complete your ABC’s regardless of experience. I understand this makes little sense, so this is why you must act if you disagree, or if you believe you deserve some credits for your current experience level.
Technicians with little experience will almost certainly have to undergo certification. Who pays for this training is an important question. The employee or the employer? If it’s the employer what terms/conditions should you take to prevent trained staff from being poached by another company after you have made a substantial invested in them. There are many more questions to be asked depending on your business model.
Statutory Review of the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013
You do however, have an opportunity to respond to the discussion paper and you should get involved. Don’t assume because you are a small business/sole trader you will not be heard. In addition, don’t leave it up to a third party like the AGA to act on your behalf. Your requirements as an individual may not be the same as the general population, or large corporation. It could be the the AGA are not looking for the same outcomes you want as an individual and your views may not be aligned. By all means let the AGA respond to the paper, but you should also take a moment do so yourself.
I would also encourage Auto Glaziers in other States to participate even if this does not effect you at this time. Why? because you should expect these changes will also be coming to a post code near you sometime soon.
Here is the link to the Statutory Review of the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 Paper. Auto Glass business owners and technicians should take time to read and understand it. If you disagree with any proposed changes, or have any ideas of your own to add, now is the time to speak up. You have until the 14/08/2020 before submissions close.
More importantly here is the link to the online discussion paper/form to raise your concerns regarding the Statutory Review of the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013. You can also submit an email if you prefer, or if you have trouble with the page. Send direct emails to. email@example.com
More Training & Regulation Will Not Fix A Poor Work Ethic
Iv stated in past writings that training can be a good thing, as long as we can learn a new skill. Advance techniques that build on current skill levels are always welcome and often essential. Unfortunately the proposed certification is not. In fact, it’s so fundamental I can’t see how any practicing technician could benefit. There was even a section on Butyl Kit Installations, perhaps the course is in need of a refresh/update itself. That said, this will take up much time if experienced technicians do not get recognition for their current years of practice.
In addition, we all realise certification will not fix bad technicians, or our industry problems. Why? because the current system is structured in a way that rewards productivity not quality. Low rates paid by networks for insurance work means companies must be very productive to make small margins. This inevitably leads to short cutting, untested cheap products and a careless attitude from technicians.
Finally, specialist removal tools/lifting devices designed to improve safety and quality are ignored because using them increases job time. It’s not uncommon for mobile technicians to boast 10 jobs in an 8 hour day. I can say with confidence that productivity performances like this are not possible without short cutting. Training, licensing and certification does not fix this, in fact, it does not even acknowledge it.
Bad Timing Of Substantial Auto Glass Industry Change During Covid.
With the recent and ongoing disruptions of Covid, I believe any proposed changes should be pushed back to at least the end of 2021. Small business operations have been repeatedly disrupted in the form of border closures, lock downs, delivery delays and even Australia largest windscreen wholesaler closed for a week with little explanation. All labeled under the banner of Covid.
In addition, it’s unlikely business would be prepared to invest in staff training at this time, as many employees are currently claiming Job Keeper. It’s not until the Job Keeper program expires later in the year will we know the true impact of Covid restrictions on our industry and community in general. Government expecting small business to invest in staff training and licensing at this time is surprising to say the least. Many may be out of work when Job Keeper expires, so staff training makes little sense until this is clear.
If you agree the changes should be postponed, thrown out or other, then I urge you to write an email/fill out the form in the above links. You have the option to have your comments remain anonymous on the website if you wish. This is a chance to submit your view directly and as a business owner and you should. It’s time to stand on your own two feet. Don’t waste time and effort writing posts on Facebook Groups complaining. Respond to the paper, or drop into your local MP’s office and ask for some assistance. Don’t wait for others to act for you.
After much investigation we have been informed directly by TAFE NSW management that Cert II Auto Glazing, is not currently available in NSW. Many assessors have now retired and/or are not qualified themselves to asses others for the required certification. As a result, even if licensing/certification was submitted for legislation on September 1 2020, Auto Glaziers could not sit any available course at this time.
We have forwarded this information to the office of our local MP Geoff Provest. Who has made a formal representations to the Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, the Hon Kevin Anderson MP on our behalf.
You can’t be sure in these matters. However, we are very confident that the legislation for licensing and certification for the Auto Glass Industry NSW would have to pushed back to a date when NSW TAFE could provide the CERT II Auto Glazing throughout the State.
A post was made yesterday on the Australia Auto Glaziers Facebook regarding the proposed changes to licensing and certification of Auto Glaziers in NSW. The post suggested that on “The Grapevine” changes to NSW regulation were looking imminent and we would be informed by the AGA regarding this.
I found this statement interesting as the changes to NSW regulation have yet to be tabled and according to the Government website link above are still in discussion. The question being, how can it be concluded when we are still in discussion. The post was soon edited and dismissed as an error, it was now said to be rumor. Of course no names were mentioned regarding the information source, so we must be content that this information floated in on the wind.
Coincidentally within a few hours a statement was release by the AGA on the Facebook Group claiming officers had been in meetings with Office Of Fair Trades NSW and TAFE NSW to put a case forward to the NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson, MP.
The question still remains that Auto Glaziers in NSW and others trading over the border from QLD, VIC and SA will soon be expected to hold a Cert II in Auto Glazing when NSW TAFE currently has this course out of scope. We are informed by the AGA the reason for this lack of planning and availability of the Cert II is and I quote. “The decision to include Auto Glazing in the “Specialised Classes of Repair Work” addressed by this regulatory change was based on a presumption that members of our industry would already hold an Automotive qualification. So, any change would have minimal impact“. Which still begs the question, why would the Minister assume that every Auto Glazier would be certified, especially when certification is not required and never has been in Australia.
I’m far from an expert in political procedures. However, I would expect if the Minster has made this call and assumed all Auto Glaziers have a Cert II he would have done so on the advice of an industry group. As far as I understand this is the fundamental reason for lobbies. Ministers can’t be expected to know all the details of specific industry matters so they look to advisory groups for suggestion.
My advice is that you call your local NSW TAFE and ask if this course is available in your local area and what is the RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) If it is not you should visit your local MP and ask how can certification be required when it’s not available. Ask your MP if they can write to the NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson, MP on your behalf.
Today I had further detailed discussions with TAFE NSW management regarding the NSW regulation. The person I spoke to was very informative. I was told that TAFE NSW is working as a priority to make this certification available by the September 1 time proposal. It has been extremely difficult for them to implement this as they have no prior knowledge or information about the changes. I find this very disturbing that NSW TAFE have not been informed in advance of the proposed changes.
I asked why would a Minister propose industry changes and assume that all Auto Glaziers would be already be certified? (As stated by AGA) In addition, why would Government not inform NSW TAFE and allow them time to prepare? I was told that for this to happen it would likely be that an industry group would have played an instrumental roll in making this happen.
I was also informed that there may be private organisations offing the Cert II. Perhaps the AGA is offering this course internally? I’m not sure, but if they were they would be only one and it would be convenient for them, as at this time they could make some good money out of it due to the lack of availability.
Prior Skills Recognition
I was informed by TAFE NSW that legally they must offer Prior Skills Recognition, this is fundamental. This may be in the form of experience and/or prior certification. So those of you who completed the O’Brien certification up to Level IV by the Australian Automotive Mechanical Engineers may get a pass.
The most important thing you can do now is visit your local MPs office. It’s not difficult or intimidating and they are very happy to assist, this is what they are there for. Explain the situation and ask for the dates to be pushed back until such time as TAFE NSW have this certification back in scope. Just like the AGA lobbies for change, so can you and the more people that do the more it will stick.
Forget about the 15 second question-air from the AGA, this is the equivalent of a quick fit, a short cut, stuffing. If you want something doing don’t take the quick easy path. It’s time to stop asking your father to kiss it better and tell you it’s going to be ok, stand on your own two feet. Go visit your local MP today. If you require any information I’m happy to advise, I’m right up to speed on this at the moment. Give me call.