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Government of South Australia - Department of State Development


    SA’s automotive industry transition

    Many Department for Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) employees have years of experience in the industry they’re working to support – including Ben Edwards, who began his career at the Elizabeth Holden factory and is now a Senior Industry Advisor, working to build the capability of local manufacturers.

    Ben recently took part in a UniSA research project on the outcomes of the Holden factory closure, which found he is in the majority of former Holden workers, has found further employment utilising his skills and experience.

    Data collected from almost 800 former auto sector workers shows that more than 80 per cent of them have found new work and most are very satisfied.

    About half are earning the same salaries they enjoyed in the auto industry. A third are financially better off, and 20 per cent say their financial situation has deteriorated.

    “It’s fair to say that as we sit here in 2023, many people who were made redundant from the auto industry have had pretty good outcomes – much better than expected,” Executive Dean Professor Andrew Beer says.

    “This is due to several factors. First, the retrenched workers were highly skilled, efficient and productive employees and so their skills were highly sought after by other workplaces.

    “Second, years of planning went into the closure, with significant financial assistance from industry, governments and community groups to ensure retrenched workers were given the best chance to find new employment.

    “Third, notwithstanding the hiccups during Covid, the Australian economy has boomed in the past five years and there are plenty of jobs for the taking.”

    Content in this article is republished from the University of South Australia’s Enterprise magazine.

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