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Government report highlights automotive skills gap

More needs to be done to fill the skills gap in the automotive industry according to a six-month parliamentary inquiry by the Skills Commission.

The report recommends professional bodies working more closely with schools, colleges and higher education.
Attending the launch of the report at the House of Commons, Linda Stansfield FIMI, chief operating officer of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), said: “We welcome the report issued by the Skills Commission as its recommendations are in line with much of the work already undertaken by the IMI for the automotive retail industry.

“As the professional association for those working in the retail motor industry, the Government licensed Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the automotive retail industry and the governing body of the ATA scheme, we are central to the skills solutions for the industry.

“We have been actively promoting the career progression routes for those starting apprenticeships through our Accelerate programme and are currently developing a Level 4 Apprenticeship scheme which would see young people going all the way from technician to manager.”

The IMI has two programmes in place to encourage and support 16-24 year olds into the industry. The Headlight programme was developed by the IMI with specialist teachers through the National Schools Partnership (NSP) that includes a series of creative curriculum-linked teacher and student resources, with the motor industry as the exciting backdrop.

The IMI also launched its Accelerate programme recently, aimed at assisting 16-24 year old apprentices with their careers.

Technical registration was also recommended as a way to up-skill the work force and to be established as a brand.

The IMI launched Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) in June 2005, it is a voluntary scheme that proves a technician’s competence.

Also earlier this year the IMI launched the Professional Register to include all individuals in the automotive industry who have proven they have the right qualifications and knowledge to practice professionally within the automotive sector, abide by a code of ethical conduct and who continually maintain their professional standards by committing to continuing professional development (CPD) and proving current competence.

The IMI said both ATA and the Professional Register show the IMI’s "commitment to maintaining and improving skills within the automotive industry".

While it’s Headlight and Accelerate schemes are aimed at bringing "new, young talent into the industry to ensure the sector has a skilled workforce to meet future needs".

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