Collision Repair industry crying out for apprentices

New Zealand is facing a shortage of panelbeaters, with more than 600 apprentices needed over the next three years. And with more than three million private vehicles on the road and record car registrations, demand for vehicle repair services is only set to increase further.

Collision Repair Association (CRA) general manager Neil Pritchard says “This past year alone New Zealanders registered around 140,000 new cars – which is its highest ever. The increased number of cars on the roads is leading to more collisions. Right now we need 600 new panelbeater apprentices to enter the sector over the next three years to answer the demand – we are getting about half that number currently.”

However, despite employment opportunities, the industry suffers from an unfair perception says Allan Le Noel of Hauraki Paint and Panel. "The industry's still tarnished with that dirty brush and when parents see their children wanting to get into the industry, they sort of look at some of the business that aren't up to the standard that we have our business at and they shy away from it."

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