The Automotive Apprenticeship Matching Service is being launched by major car manufacturers in an attempt to close the UK’s growing skill gap.
The service is being launched prior to the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy next year that will affect all large employers and make it compulsory for them to support new schemes.
Bentley, Ford, BMW, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and others are collaborating on the service in the hope that it will allow 10,000 skilled apprentices per year to secure an automotive apprenticeship after failing to qualify for their generally oversupplied company schemes.
The matching service will allow the automakers to connect rejected applicants with other, similar schemes run by companies in the sector.
Semta, which promotes skills in advanced manufacturing, believes that a shortage of adequate training provision in the sector could start to impact on the skills needed to sustain automotive productivity in the UK, particularly in manufacturing and engineering disciplines.
In a report published today, the body finds that up to 5,000 automotive job vacancies could be vacant due to a lack of skills needed to fulfil them.
“As an industry, the automotive sector has a long standing history of providing apprenticeships – and there are many great career opportunities,” said Jo Lopes, Head of Technical Excellence at Jaguar Land Rover.
“But we recognise that there is more we can do to attract and support our new talent pipeline. By taking a collaborative and innovative approach to developing new skills solutions, with larger employers working alongside smaller component manufacturers we are ensuring that our whole industry will benefit.”
Skills minister Nick Boles said: “The UK is the most productive of all European car manufacturers – if we are to maintain this position, it’s essential that we have the right skills.”
Simon Farrall, head of apprentices at BMW said: “There are some very capable candidates who apply to us and we don’t want to simply turn people away. By introducing these candidates to the Matching Service, engineering businesses can access these quality applicants, which enables them to recruit more effectively."
The interactive Matching Service will be facilitated by the apprenticeship platform GetMyFirstJob and will work with candidates and companies across the supply chain.
The Institute of the Motor Industry recently said that the UK economy could be boosted by up £51bn per year if the government focuses more investment in electric car infrastructure, including charging stations and legal changes designed to increase the number of qualified technicians.
In June last year, the government said it was on track to fill higher apprenticeships starts across the country in a bid to ultimately get three million more by 2020.