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Apprentice Week gives boost to industry joiners

Last week’s National Apprentice Week further highlighted the importance of developing skills in the motor industry.

Last year, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) announced it was spearheading a recruitment campaign in anticipation of a major skills crisis, as reported in AM’s 21 December 2007 issue.

The week, organised by the Learning & Skills Council, intended to raise the profile of apprenticeships and draw attention to the value they bring to businesses. Employers were also encouraged to look at apprenticeships as a means of investing in long term skills development.

The event, which is hoped will become annual, hosted an apprenticeship summit at the Congress Centre in London, where employers, officials and high-profile guests debated the Government’s aspirations for apprenticeships.

Steve Scofield, IMI head of skills development, said: “It’s very important that our industry gets behind the apprenticeship more so now than ever before as it needs capable young minds which can be developed into tomorrow’s business leaders, sales professionals and master technicians. “Apprenticeship Week gives us the chance to celebrate apprentices as they are out future.”

Coinciding with the week, GE’s TIP Trailer Services announced the launch of the TIP UK workshop apprenticeship scheme, with the leasing and rental company seeking to make a long term investment in additional qualified technicians for its UK depots.

Jaguar and Land Rover are in their second year of a young apprenticeship programme and in addition to teaching students at its two training academies, they are also working in partnership with ten colleges across the UK, which support over 350 students on the manufacturer’s programme.

Len Rankin, service manager at Guy Salmon Land Rover Coventry, said: “Our business is very committed to supporting youngsters from the local community and we’re happy to invest the time giving them the foundation skills and practical experience they need to further a career in the business and the industry.”

Licensed by the Government as the sector skills council for the automotive retail industry, the IMI has pledged a 100% increase in the number of apprentices joining the retail motor industry over the next five years to help tackle shortages. It wants 40,000 home-grown apprentices in the sector by 2013.

The next apprenticeship push will be a career zone at the British International Motor Show which will see the unveiling of a major recruitment drive in partnership with employers.

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