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£15m boost for new training Academy

The Government is to inject £15m into the UK's first Automotive Academy. The Department of Trade and Industry is stumping up the funds in a desperate bid to solve the skill crisis strangling the industry.

The Academy, based in the West Midlands, will have 12 satellite centres across the country. A timetable of kite-marked training programmes will be on offer from shop-floor skills to top-level management. It will also create a road map to help the industry meet all its training needs and provide new learning classes.

Patricia Hewitt, trade and industry secretary, says: “The sector cannot compete on a global stage on the basis of low wages, nor should it want to. This academy will train the industry to have cutting-edge skills to create cutting-edge products. “It has every chance of being a success because it will take the best tr

aining that exists, enhance it and make it easier to access.“

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders welcomes the news. “The automotive industry is vital to the UK economy but we can only stay on top if we make sure that people are trained to the highest standards to equip them for the future,” it says. “The academy will act as a focal point for the very best in training and development. Everyone in the industry supports this initiative.”

Proposals for the academy came from the Government's Automotive Innovation and Growth Team, which was set up in 2001 to make the industry more competitive. Chaired by Sir Ian Gibson, the former senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co Limited in Japan, the academy aims to become the foundation for automotive learning and training in Britain.

Ministers have also set aside £30m to implement further AGIT ideas such as developing fuel cell technology, improving supply chains and advances in retailing.

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