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SMMT re-launches fund to safeguard automotive apprenticeship jobs

Mike Hawes, chief executive of  the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has re-launched its £100,000 fund to help COVID-hit automotive businesses protect apprenticeship jobs.

The SMMT Apprentice Support Programme is designed to help safeguard the jobs of apprentices currently working within the automotive industry.

The programme earmarks £100,000 to cover all or part of the salaries of apprentices currently employed by small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) within the UK automotive industry, but whose positions are at risk of redundancy due to COVID-19 related business pressures.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “The UK automotive industry is built on decades of craftsmanship, engineering excellence and innovation delivered by a highly skilled workforce – and its long-term recovery and growth will depend on retaining and developing this skills base.

“That’s why it’s so important that we do everything possible to ensure that we don’t let today’s challenges hinder our long-term aspirations.

“Today’s apprentices are tomorrow’s leaders, and this scheme will help protect their jobs now so that they can help drive our future success.”

The SMMT Apprentice Support Programme aims to secure existing young talent within their businesses, by covering their salaries either in full or in part for up to a year.

It is open to SMMT member companies and requires successful applicants to contribute towards the full £14,000 apprentice salary as business needs permit, to unlock a stipend as made available by the SMMT Charitable Trust Fund (SCTF).

The scheme follows the conclusion of the Government-funded furlough scheme.

Gareth Jones, chairman of the SMMT Charitable Trust Fund, said: “This timely and much needed initiative from the STCF will provide critical and well targeted support to ensure we retain some fantastic talent and potential in our industry.”

Applications can be made on the SMMT website.

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