SMMT reception celebrates automotive apprenticeships

08 February 2012 #SMMT News

At an evening reception on Monday 6 February, 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.

Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive and Minister of State for Further Education and Skills, John Hayes both took to the stage to congratulate the other special guests in the room – the apprentices themselves.

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.

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

Throughout National Apprenticeship Week, vehicle manufacturers and retailers have been championing the opportunities on offer through their apprenticeship schemes.

BMW Group is increasing the number of UK apprenticeships available through its company and dealership schemes to around 200 in 2012. The majority of places are available across BMW and MINI dealerships, which are looking to recruit around 130 young people. There are also opportunities within the MINI Production Triangle, which is set to double its intake to 70 places in preparation for the next generation model.

Apprenticeships within MINI’s UK production network last between three and four years and cover a wide range of skills from human resources and business to electrical maintenance and engineering. The training leads to an NVQ level three qualification and some apprentices will have the opportunity to progress right through to degree level in the course of their career.

Dr Juergen Hedrich, Managing Director, MINI Plant Oxford, said, “Investment in young people is a key part of our development strategy for the plants; therefore we are delighted to be able to offer young people the chance to join our modern apprenticeship scheme.”

Apprentice numbers at BMW’s Hams Hall engine site are set to rise significantly as the plant prepares for future production. The facility manufactures highly fuel-efficient, four-cylinder petrol engines for both BMW and MINI vehicles, and young people have the opportunity to apply now for the apprenticeships.

Nick Spencer, plant director, said, “Investment in young people is a key part of our development strategy for the plant; therefore we are delighted to be able to offer young people the chance to join our modern apprenticeship scheme.”

Apprentices with Ferrari are employed at dealerships throughout the UK and attend 24 weeks of dedicated training at Ferrari North Europe’s head office during the three year programme. The training includes hands-on diagnostic and mechanical training on the current range of Ferrari models, as well as access to other models from Ferrari’s recent past, to ensure they have the necessary skills to service the cars they are most likely to see in the workshop at their dealerships.

Matteo Torre, Regional Manager Ferrari North Europe, said, “We were delighted to support the SMMT’s event because Ferrari North Europe has made significant investments in our new in-house Apprentice programme, which is part of the Ferrari philosophy of investing in young talent. Ferrari’s aim is to ensure that the Ferrari dealer network has a continual supply of high quality, knowledgeable and expertly trained apprentices who we hope will become the Ferrari technicians of the future.”

Nissan has announced 25 new apprenticeship places available at its Sunderland manufacturing facility, on its Trainee Maintenance Technician Scheme. Announced to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week, these new posts bring the number of apprentices ever taken on at the plant to 1,073 during its 26-year history.

The 25 new trainees will become part of the highly-skilled maintenance team who uphold and maintain the production facilities at the site and following a structured programme, the apprentices will graduate the scheme with a foundation degree in Maintenance Engineering.

Nissan Sunderland Plant Engineering Director, Richard Ebrahim, who started his own career as an apprentice, said, “We are proud to support apprenticeships and would like to see more companies in our region doing so.

“Hiring apprentices is a tried and tested way of investing in the future of the company. It supports the development of future managers and directors, giving our staff the practical skills and academic qualifications they will need for a successful career.”

In addition to manufacturing and engineering programmes, Vauxhall is now offering commercial apprenticeships for the second year running. In 2011, as many as 124 places were filled with apprentices taking up training at five different sites in Bedfordshire and Cheshire as well as retailer operations nationwide.

Phil Millward, Vauxhall’s HR Director, started his own career at the company as an engineering apprentice 43 years ago on the shop floor of the Ellesmere Port plant.

Speaking about the opportunities available, he said, “Apprenticeship programmes offer a very attractive alternative to university study, as the young people will receive valuable tuition at partner educational institutions whilst training on the job, receiving support and advice from the team as well as an attractive compensation and benefits package. At the end of the cycle, most apprentices stay within the business well suited to become our leaders of tomorrow.”

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has announced that the company is seeking candidates to join its apprenticeship programme at the end of August 2012, working alongside skilled craftspeople in leather, wood, paint, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, assembly and finesse roles.

The company’s programme provides young people with the opportunity to train with the Goodwood-based manufacturer for up to four years, combining on-the-job experience with studying for nationally recognised qualifications. Since the programme’s launch in 2006, more than 30 young people have been employed following completion of their apprenticeship.

Andrew Ball, Corporate Communications Manager, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, “We are delighted to announce that Rolls-Royce is seeking candidates for its apprenticeship programme. This demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the development and training of young people at the very highest levels of UK manufacturing.”

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

Photos from SMMT’s National Apprenticeship Week launch event are available to view and download via the slideshow below.

The full list of vehicle manufacturers in attendance at Monday’s National Apprenticeship Week reception were:

  • Bentley Motors
  • BMW Group
  • Ferrari North Europe
  • Ford of Britain
  • Honda of the UK Manufacturing
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • MINI
  • Nissan Motor Manufacturing
  • Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing
  • Vauxhall Motors
  • Volkswagen UK


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