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SMMT is actively involved in supporting its members in the field of education, training, development and careers promotion. SMMT and industry believe that ensuring that the right infrastructure and funding is in place for skills development is vital to the long-term success of the UK automotive industry.

Click through to download the SMMT fact sheet on skills, apprentices and employment in UK automotive.

The automotive sector currently employs over 700,000 people in the UK, in jobs ranging from design, development, manufacturing, retail, and service and repair. The ability for the UK to maintain and continually improve its strong skills base will enable it to remain competitive within a global market.

Government initiatives like Make it in Great Britain and See Inside Manufacturing aim to transform outdated opinions of modern manufacturing, and provide a unique opportunity to get behind the scenes of some of the country’s world-class automotive facilities.

At an evening reception at SMMT this year, senior industry leaders and politicians celebrated the wealth of opportunities open to automotive apprentices and the government and industry-led momentum to guide young people towards a rewarding career within the automotive industry. 31 apprentices from 12 companies attended the event, where they spoke to stakeholders, MPs and the media about their experiences of the wide range of training programmes available across the industry. Watch the video below to hear what they had to say.

SMMT continually communicates and engages with skills providers, funding agencies and government to ensure training and skills provision is accessible, properly funded and suitably targeted.

Ensuring a positive public perception of the UK automotive industry, and raising awareness, is vital to attract the best and brightest talent into the sector, as this will in turn ensure the long-term promise and sustainability of the industry. An example of the work that SMMT are doing in this regard is the See Inside Manufacturing initiative, a collaboration between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Automotive Council. This initiative encourages automotive companies across the UK to open their doors to students, parents and teachers, in order to showcase the breadth of career opportunities that are available in the UK automotive sector.

SMMT works closely with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that skills provision is intrinsically linked with the future technology agenda, helping cement the UK’s position at the forefront of this innovative sector. For example the focus on low carbon technologies has prompted the industry to ensure technicians and those working with products such as electric vehicles, including sales personnel, have the tools and skills to adapt to technological developments, which are driving the automotive industry forward.

SMMT Industry Forum aims to improve manufacturing processes in the UK automotive industry. Forum programmes are practical, shop floor based process improvements activities implemented with a ‘hands on’ approach by a team of high calibre engineers. The Forum is actively involved with SMMT in pursuing skills and training objectives for the industry. It is a partnership that strives for a highly skilled and capable workforce.

Click through to download the SMMT fact sheet on skills, apprentices and employment in UK automotive.


Click through to download the SMMT fact sheet on skills, apprentices and employment in UK automotive.

How many people are currently employed in the UK automotive sector?

The automotive sector employs around 720,000 people in the UK, in jobs ranging from design, development, manufacturing, retail, and service and repair. Of the 720,000 employees, around 140,000 work directly in manufacturing.

How does the motor industry ensure that the UK workforce remains highly skilled?

The automotive industry makes substantial investment on training at all levels – from shop floor to dealer development, and this ensures the workforce in the UK automotive sector  remain highly skilled. National data from 2008 shows that GVA (gross value added) within the UK automotive sector was £61,100 per employee, compared with a national average of £35,500, proving that the sector’s investment in training has a tangible effect on increasing productivity and profit.

What schemes are currently in place to upskill employees in the automotive sector?

Government and industry have implemented a number of schemes to promote the automotive sector as an attractive place to build a fulfilling career. Apprenticeships remain a vital tool for the automotive industry to recruit and train its workforce. Over 14,500 apprentices started placements in the automotive sector between 2009-2010, of which over 6,000 were Advanced apprenticeships (NVQ Level 3), an increase of 8.9% on the previous year.

SMMT work closely with SEMTA, the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies. SEMTA have supported large and small automotive companies to train in excess of 25,000 employees on recognised qualifications. SMMT also work with The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) on a range of skills provision.

What are apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships provide an opportunity for employees to gain experience and job-specific skills, certified through nationally recognised qualifications, whilst earning a wage. They also provide employers with a highly skilled workforce, able to fulfil the specific needs of their organisations and industry. There are three levels of apprenticeship available: Intermediate level, Advanced level and Higher apprenticeships, and to apply prospective apprentices need to be 16 or over.

What are Sector Skills Councils?

Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) are independent, employer-led, UK-wide organisations that aim to boost the skills and productivity of their sector’s workforce. SSCs are funded through the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

What is being done to improve the image of careers in the automotive industry?

SMMT are continually working with government and relevant stakeholders, to ensure that the wide range of opportunities and careers in the automotive industry are widely understood. The See Inside Manufacturing campaign, a joint initiative between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Automotive Council, encourages automotive companies across the UK to open their doors to students, parents and teachers, in order to showcase the breadth of career opportunities available in the automotive sector.

What are the plans for the future?

SMMT will continue communicating and engaging with skills providers, funding agencies and government, to ensure that the long-term sustainability of the automotive sector is in safe hands.

Click through to download the SMMT fact sheet on skills, apprentices and employment in UK automotive.

Where can I find out more about careers in UK automotive?

Ford powers ahead with new Dagenham jobs

Ford will recruit a further 250 employees to its Dagenham engine plant as part of a £380 million project, which is joint-funded by government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Read more

Aston Martin shapes its future with new apprenticeships

Aston Martin will recruit two new clay sculpting apprentices to its Gaydon headquarters at the beginning of 2015, adding to the 12 already recruited across the business. The expanding apprenticeship programme heralds a new direction for Aston Martin, demonstrating the importance that the manufacturer and wider UK automotive industry now places on developing the next generation of skilled workers

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UK automotive boosts jobs, turnover and cuts out waste

SMMT’s 15th annual Automotive Sustainability Report says estimated 44,000 new jobs created in auto sector in 2013, boosting total jobs past 750,000. Manufacturing-specific jobs grew by 14,000 to more than 160,000. Sector turnover grew 10.3% versus 2012 to £64.1 billion.

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Bentley to recruit 140 new engineers and apprentices

Bentley is set to create more than 140 new jobs at its Crewe headquarters as part of a previously-announced £800 million investment programme. As part of new model preparations, the recruitment drive will welcome 90 new skilled engineers to the manufacturer in a number of disciplines, including chassis, powertrain, electrical and whole vehicle development. Bentley Read more

New training centre and apprenticeships see Ford invest in skills

Ford has announced a new, state-of-the-art training centre for its national dealer network’s technicians, sales staff and management. The new facility will be based on the site of the manufacturer’s current Technical Training Centre in Daventry, Northamptonshire, merging its capabilities with the Henry Ford College in Loughborough.

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Vauxhall supports National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week launches next Monday (3 March), a focal point in the year for businesses, colleges and young people to come together to raise the profile, and understand the benefits, of apprenticeships. Throughout National Apprenticeship Week, Vauxhall’s Luton Plant will host an apprenticeship careers event for school pupils aged 14-18. Vauxhall’s head office will also Read more

Developing the next generation of automotive talent

From 3 March SMMT will be supporting its members’ nationwide activities around national apprenticeship week. This annual focus on ways business of all sorts develop the next generation of workers offers automotive businesses the opportunity to put a spotlight on the year-round work that goes on to attract, train and develop new automotive sector employees. Read more

Government response to the BIS committee report on LEPs

Government welcomes the Committee’s broad support for the creation of LEPs and believes that local communities and businesses are in the best position to understand and respond to the opportunities and needs of their own economies, and that creating LEPs will allow them to do this.

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Growth and Innovation Fund

Government have produced a prospectus setting out how eligible organisations can apply to the investment element of GIF, with employer-led proposals to raise skill levels and business performance.

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2008 Draft legislative programme

On Wednesday 14 May, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, outlined the Government’s priorities and the bills that will be introduced in the next parliamentary session.

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Semta’s ‘Business 2 Skills Online‘ survey provides businesses with an instant assessment of how they compare with industry identified skills priorities. It offers additional help and resources to improve performance.

The free online diagnostic tool can help you to identify crucial business, training and skills issues and assess development areas within your business.

How the assessment works

The diagnostic tool uses a simple and effective online questionnaire which is linked to a comprehensive knowledge base. The report is returned to the respondent instantly, and provides a detailed report of key drivers in the business against best practice.

The report highlights areas for improvement and provides suggested actions and sources of help.

Organisations can use the guidance in the report and then develop a continuous internal improvement programme or they can opt for a consultation with Semta on next steps and support available.

Semta Business 2 Skills Online survey

You can complete the survey on Semta’s website, or answer the questions within SMMT’s website using the embedded page below.