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Parts firms suffer skills shortages

Problems facing automotive components suppliers – in particular pressures from carmakers to make efficiency gains and cut prices – are being exacerbated by a lack of employee skills, according to a new survey.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Industry Forum surveyed more than 200 component suppliers on a number of issues facing the industry. Eight-three per cent say that poor employee skills are affecting their profitability, with a similar number claiming that a lack of skills among their suppliers is also having an impact on their competitiveness.

Industry Forum chief executive Graham Broome says the findings are worrying. “This demonstrates the urgency of the problem,” he says. “While UK component makers are wrestling with the skills problem valuable contracts are going overseas.”

The Industry Forum has set up programmes to tackle the issues, complemented by the Government's Automotive Academy and National Supply Chain Group, but accepts that the initiatives suffer from a lack of exposure with suppliers. “We look to our big suppliers to recognise the issues and tackle them down their supply chains,” says Broome.

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