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Carmakers unite with government backing to secure future skilled workforce

Car manufacturers have united in a new initiative aimed at driving growth, investment and revenues by securing a future skilled workforce.

The creation of the £30 million Automotive Industrial Partnership, which consists of many of the UK’s leading automotive manufacturers, was announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable (pictured) announced the £30m initiative in January.

Among those in the partnership are Bentley, BMW, Ford, GKN, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Toyota and Vauxhall. The retail sector is not represented.

Jo Lopes, chair of the Automotive Industrial Partnership and head of technical excellence at Jaguar Land Rover, said: "This is an exceptional moment for our sector.  The Automotive Industrial Partnership brings together the sector’s employers to work collaboratively on an unprecedented scale.

“The unified effort – from all sides of the industry and government – will ensure that the automotive sector will thrive for generations to come.

“The UK’s automotive industry is one of the most successful in the world.  We are achieving record growth, creating thousands of jobs and attracting major inward investment.  Ensuring we have a pipeline of skills talent now and for the future is critically important to our continued success. 

“The partnership will see large manufacturers working alongside SME supply chain employers to develop good practice that the entire industry will benefit from.

“We are aiming to inspire the next generation of vehicle makers and create new routes into automotive careers, as well as upskilling those that already work in the industry”.

Cable said:  “This investment puts our automotive sector in the driving seat to design the skills our manufacturing companies need. There is a risk that without adequate investment in skills, the industry will run into serious skills bottlenecks.

“Through our industrial strategy we are working in partnership with the automotive sector as it goes from strength to strength. We are providing businesses with the confidence to invest, and to create high skilled jobs.”

Not for profit employer-led skills organisation Semta, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders working through the Automotive Council also support the Automotive Industrial Partnership in conjunction with the Industry Forum, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

Initiatives include:

• Supporting the development and roll out of apprenticeship standards, with the development of 'trailblazer' apprenticeships in seven key areas 

• Piloting a range of programmes to attract more work ready new entrants to the sector, including giving 4,500 Year Six students an experience of working in the industry through a one-day production simulation and taking on 960 11-16 year old 'industrial cadets', to develop vital industry skills in team working, communications and problem solving over a six day programme

• Providing a route to work for 19+ year olds, with a 15-day programme offering vocational training and simulated work activities designed by their potential future employers. Assessing functional and employability skills will lead to further work experience at a host company, helping young people with little or no workplace experience and vocational skills on a route to possible future apprenticeships.

• Carrying out in-depth research to establish automotive industry employers’ current and future skills needs

• Developing industry approved high quality learning and development solutions that are relevant to job roles across the whole industry

• Formally accrediting quality assured training organisations to deliver industry approved frameworks, qualifications and programmes

• Upskilling the existing workforce and re-training and recruitment initiatives to bring new talent to the industry, which will benefit large manufacturer and SME supply chain employers

• Attracting 10,000 apprentices and 2,000 graduates by 2018.

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