UK automotive careers showcased during National Apprenticeship Week

15 March 2013 #SMMT News

Prime Minister David Cameron marked the start of National Apprentice Week with a visit to Mercedes-Benz’s £2.1 million Apprentice Academy in Tongwell, Milton Keynes. Mr Cameron heard first-hand about the benefits of being part of the apprenticeship programme, which leads to nationally-recognised NVQ and VRQ qualifications.

Since opening in 1995, 1,148 apprentices have graduated from the Mercedes-Benz Apprentice Academy, with 60% of those who graduated still working within the brand 10 years later.

Prime Minister David Cameron said, “Apprenticeships are at the heart of our mission to rebuild the economy, giving young people the chance to learn a trade and create a truly world class workforce that can compete and thrive in the global race.”

UK automotive’s celebration of apprenticeships continued on Monday with the announcement that Ford is to invest £250,000 in the recruitment of up to 50 additional apprentices for its UK network of Commercial Vehicle (CV) dealerships this year.

In their role as CV Sales Executive Apprentices, participants in the programme will gain extensive knowledge of Ford’s vehicle product range and become skilled in selling techniques, finance and vehicle appraisals.

Stuart Harris, Ford College Manager said, “Ford’s dealership network recruits more than 500 apprentices every year, making it one of the largest recruiters of apprentices in the motor industry.”

Stressing the importance of apprenticeships in the retail motor industry, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) called on young people to take a fresh look at the sector and the opportunities available. The retail motor industry encompasses the distribution, sale, financing and maintenance of every kind of vehicle ranging from cars and motorcycles, through to vans and trucks.

Steve Nash, the IMI’s Chief Executive said, “The automotive retail sector continues to play a significant role in the UK economy, so it is essential that it attracts suitably qualified young people and equips them with the skills for future success.”

On Wednesday evening, Bentley Motors apprentices Matthew Speck and Ellen James were recognised for their achievements at a reception hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister to celebrate apprenticeships and showcase the contribution they make to the economy.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, “I was delighted to welcome these outstanding apprentices to Admiralty House. It’s clear they are making a valuable contribution and their hard work now will no doubt set them up for a bright future.”

A seminar and reception at SMMT on Monday evening celebrated the automotive sector’s commitment to skills and training. Jack Stearn, a 20-year-old engineering apprentice at Vauxhall told an audience at the joint SMMT and Semta event of his experiences and ambitions.

Sharing a platform with industry experts and stakeholders, Jack was joined at the reception by Business Secretary Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP who made the keynote address.

Business Secretary, Dr Vince Cable MP said, “Companies in the automotive sector have long recognised the value of offering apprenticeships and have a proud record of putting young people on exciting and rewarding career paths.”

Commenting on the opportunities for apprentices in the automotive industry, Mike Baunton, SMMT Interim Chief Executive said, “There has never been a better time to consider a career in the motor industry and this event highlights the long-term benefits and rewards that can be gained from joining the already 700,000-strong automotive workforce.”

National Apprenticeship Week took place from 11-15 March, celebrating apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy. For more information about how apprenticeships can improve business productivity and competitiveness, visit

The IMI provides a wealth of information about motor industry careers through its Autocity website.

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