The Academy also welcomes the announcement of the Leitch Review into intermediate and degree level skills.
Dr Alan Begg, chief executive, says: "Employee training programmes have been piloted across the country and have proved useful in encouraging the automotive industry's smaller companies to engage in training for their employees. Rolling the scheme out across the country will give SMEs in the sector the confidence and ability they need to improve their competitiveness by boosting skills.
"The plan to increase benefits to 16-year-olds who start unwaged training will help remove another barrier to this important group. The automotive industry needs enthusiastic and skilled young people entering the industry and this support for vocational training will help them to start their careers."
Gordon Brown revealed yesterday plans to close the skills gap by expanding employer training pilot schemes across the country. The programme will give every employee the right to free training in order to make themselves more employable by earning vocational qualifications, although permission will still have to be given by employers.