The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has launched a new online community called Accelerate aimed at supporting young people studying for an automotive qualification.
The community costs £10 to join and membership gives apprentices discounts on tools, career advice, NUS card and access to competitions.
The launch coincided with the publication of an IMI panel survey looking at the skills needs of the sector.
The report found 59% of 150 garages surveyed had vacancies and 73% of these were hard to fill, as they require skilled workers.
The IMI believes a successful future for the automotive industry will depend on attracting high calibre young people into the sector.
The launch at The Manchester College attracted representatives from local businesses including Evans Halshaw and Kings Manchester Chrysler.
Jon Douglass, national manager for the IMI, said: "It’s important to get young people and apprentices to see their role as a careers and not just a job.
"We are keen for them to work with us to map out a career path. Accelerate is an ideal way to support career progression."