Automotive industry celebrates youth skills development

26 November 2013 #SMMT News
  • “It’s worked wonders for my confidence, and I now feel part of the industry.” Martin Denyer, Swindon Foyer resident
  • “The project had lots of different activities that made me work in different ways within a team.”  Nicole Fry, Dove Cott House Foyer resident, Essex

Influential figures from across the UK automotive industry gathered in London today to celebrate the achievements of 31 young people in a groundbreaking initiative to enhance skills in the sector.

The ‘Working Assets’ initiative, funded through SMMT’s Charitable Trust and delivered by the Foyer Federation, offers young people who have faced challenging circumstances an exciting opportunity to develop their skills in one of the UK’s most vibrant industrial sectors.

Residents of five Foyers across the country undertook work programmes at four SMMT members’ manufacturing operations, engaging in a range of activities to enhance their long-term employability. Hosting the participants were Ford’s Technical Centre in Basildon, Essex; BMW’s MINI plant in Swindon; Toyota’s car factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire and Unipart Manufacturing in Coventry.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The automotive industry currently employs more than 700,000 people across the UK, a number that is set to grow on the back of recent multi-billion pound investments in the sector. This year alone, over 5,000 new jobs have been announced across the automotive sector, providing young people with a wealth of employment opportunities.

“SMMT is particularly pleased to collaborate with the Foyer Federation in the ‘Working Assets’ programme – a great stepping stone towards long-term employment for some of those who have had to overcome particular challenges in their lives.”

Jane Slowey, Chief Executive of the Foyer Federation, added, “We are thrilled the project has built on the success of last year and allowed us to work with more partners and to reach yet more young people. By developing local relationships and thinking differently about the way we do things, young people are exposed to – and encouraged by – new opportunities, while employers are encountering fresh talent in their community.

“We are seeing the automotive sector tap into Foyers’ ability to harness young people’s talents, and young people building the skills, experiences and attitudes that will enable them to move into employment and adult independence.”

Each young person took on a variety of activities including team-building, exposure to a professional environment in a manufacturing facility, and development of CVs. The projects were specifically designed to engage the participants with the challenges of modern manufacturing, as well as develop their capacity for teamwork – and, ultimately, to enhance their prospects for future employment in the manufacturing sector.

In recognition of their achievements, each young person celebrated in today’s ceremony – held at SMMT’s Westminster headquarters – was given a certificate. Also acclaimed were the contributions of the local Foyers, as well as the individual manufacturers, to the success of the scheme.

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