In a bid to boost numbers, the IMI has cut its apprenticeship administration charges by 40% with immediate effect. The £20 registration fee has been abolished, leaving a single fee of £30 per person, payable upon completion of the apprenticeship.
According to the Learning and Skills Council's ‘working futures’ research, the automotive retail sector will have a total 'replacement requirement' of up to 120,000 people in all disciplines across the industry over the next 10 years.
Motor retail businesses in England already have more than 11,000 vacancies, of which nearly half are for highly skilled technicians, prompting a number of employers to recruit from countries such as Poland, Australia and New Zealand.
Spearheading an industry-wide campaign in 2008 aimed at school pupils from year nine, parents, teachers, careers advisors, colleges and training providers, as well as engaging employers across the sector, the IMI wants 40,000 'home grown' apprentices in the automotive sector by 2013.
Sarah Sillars, chief executive, Institute of the Motor Industry, said: "With rapid vehicle evolution, a shifting retail landscape and intense scrutiny from consumer groups, a robust and respected retail motor sector of the future means that we need to attract and retain highly capable young people who have got what it takes to make a career in what is a highly credible professional vocation."
The IMI's pledge coincides with the Government's announcement to increase apprenticeships across all industry sectors from 250,000 today to more than 400,000 by 2010/11 with over £1 billion in additional funding.
For the first time, funding will be targeted specifically at expanding apprenticeships for adults aged over 25.
David Lammy, Minister for Skills, said: "Such a rapidly evolving sector as automotive retail demands a highly skilled workforce and I am delighted that the IMI's plans to bring more young people into the motor industry will complement the Government's pledge to increase apprenticeships across all industries."