Recruitment of a skilled and semi-skilled workforce continues to be a challenge throughout the industry. Figures from the Institute of the Motor Industry show that we face a potential shortage of 25,000 TechSafe technicians by 2032, while more immediately, attracting new apprentices remains challenging.
It’s a mission we need to solve. As we pick up the pace on the number of zero emission vehicles, hitting UK roads we will need to develop the workforce of the future to maintain high voltage vehicles. And manufacturers are playing their part – it’s been good to see updates on the graduation ceremonies that have taken place over the last few months for heavy vehicle technicians, who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Upskilling and reskilling are imperative to delivering net zero, automated technologies and supply chain and aftermarket productivity. It’s vital that the potential talent pool is as broad as possible, meaning it is crucial to take action on breaking down any barriers people may face in pursuing a rewarding career in the sector.
As part of that, SMMT has recently launched Drive to Thrive, which provides funding grants for up to ten UK automotive apprentices to help fund car driving lessons and ultimately secure a license, with all the benefits that brings. The scheme, run in partnership with automotive charity BEN and the SMMT Charitable Trust Fund and aims to support people aged 17 to 21 years old from disadvantaged and minority backgrounds, as they begin their career in the automotive industry.
Looking ahead to next year, SMMT will continue to shine a spotlight on the essential role apprentices play in keeping the country on the move. Our Apprentice Showcase Reception during National Apprenticeship Week will provide apprentices to share their experiences first-hand with Parliamentarians, within the halls of power themselves. And of course, we will continue to work with government to develop ever more effective methods to attract top talent and help employers invest in their next generation.
The automotive sector is a powerhouse of growth, sustaining almost a million jobs. Together, let’s make sure we continue to deliver on our ability to create careers – while also delivering the essential net zero transition that will benefit the entire country.