CEO Update

Ex-forces talent can drive Britain’s green auto mission

14 July 2023 #CEO Update

The UK automotive industry has long been renowned for its cutting-edge innovation, R&D and manufacturing excellence, driven on all fronts by a highly skilled and flexible workforce. Our people are our biggest asset in the transition to net zero and, given Britain’s ambitious timeframe to achieve it, the need to invest in new skills and attract new talent has been accelerated. The industry must now carefully plan how it can find the best-in-class recruits.

Automotive businesses across the country are upskilling their existing workforces as part of a long-term strategy for green growth, from electrification to automation. But the sector must also be open to recruit the very best from whatever background. New qualifications and positions have to be accessible to fresh talent and, given the years of relevant expertise many in the services possess, it is a rich talent pool that would serve the sector well. Indeed, recruiting from the ex-armed forces community can bring a company many benefits, with service leavers and veterans offering a wealth of critical transferrable skills.

Unlocking that talent was the driving force behind the creation of Mission Automotive in 2018, a partnership which, this week, saw SMMT awarded Gold status under the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme for employers that demonstrate and advocate support for the armed forces community. Funded by the SMMT Charitable Trust and delivered in partnership with Mission Motorsport and The Royal Foundation, Mission Automotive maps military skills to qualifications required by the sector, supports automotive industry engagement and recruitment, promotes job opportunities, and helps retrain ex-forces talent and place service leavers into jobs across the sector. The initiative has been incredibly successful thanks to strong engagement from across the industry which has helped promote automotive and SMMT as leaders in this area. We are proud to receive this recognition and even prouder of the opportunities it has created to so many ex-services personnel.

The net zero transition requires new ways of thinking and planning and, as the voice of the UK automotive industry, SMMT will continue to lead the conversation. Electrified 2023, Britain’s pre-eminent event on the electrification of road transport, is one such example, bringing together 400 senior representatives from industry, government and media. An agenda-setting day of speaker sessions, panels and exhibitions will include keynotes from JLR, Renault Trucks and the UK Shadow Cabinet, tackling key issues from regulation and infrastructure to EV supply chains, energy and the circular economy. Limited tickets are still available to purchase, and SMMT Members are eligible for one complimentary ticket. For further details and to book, get in touch with SMMT Events.

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