Driving home the importance of apprenticeships in UK automotive
8 March 2013
A young apprentice will join industry experts and the Business Secretary at an event to celebrate the automotive sector’s commitment to skills and training.
Jack Stearn, a 20-year-old engineering apprentice at Vauxhall will be marking the start of National Apprenticeship Week by telling an audience at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on 11 March of his experiences and ambitions.
He will share the platform with industry experts and Business Secretary Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP who makes the keynote address at the event organised jointly by Semta, the sector skills council for the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering sectors, and SMMT, the UK automotive industry’s trade association.
The event will start with a seminar, chaired by Konstanze Scharring, Head of Public Policy and Vehicle Legislation, SMMT.
As well as Jack, Dr Susan Pember OBE, Director, Further Education and Skills Investment, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, will outline government skills and apprenticeship policy ambitions as well as expectations for the government response on the Richard Review of apprenticeships.
Andy Dunn, engineering manager, at Nifco based in North East England specialising in functional plastics parts, will give a brief overview of his business and skills challenges plus how it has benefited from employing apprentices.
Lynn Tomkins, UK operations director of Semta will explain the return on investment when employing an apprentice, how Semta can support and the priorities for the sector.
Following the seminar there will be a drinks reception in SMMT’s showroom space where there will be exhibits of work produced by apprentices from a variety of automotive companies. The apprentices will be on hand to talk to guests who include MPs and senior representatives from across the motor industry.
Among those exhibiting are Bentley Motors, BMW MINI, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Nifco.
Business Secretary Vince Cable 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.
“Since 2010 we have had over a million people start an apprenticeship in the UK. I am pleased that there has been especially strong growth in sectors that are vital to creating jobs outside of London and making the economy stronger including a 57 per cent increase in engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships over the last two years alone.”
Commenting on the value of apprentices in the automotive industry, Mike Baunton, SMMT Interim Chief Executive said, "Industry fully recognises the importance of attracting the brightest and best young people this country has to offer and invests millions each year in apprenticeships and training schemes that nurture and shape talent.
"UK automotive has welcomed more than £6bn of investment in recent years and this has created thousands of job opportunities directly at facilities as well as up and down the supply chain. 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."
Apprentice Jack Stearn, said “I am really looking forward to participating in the SMMT event. Not only is it a great development opportunity for me as an individual but it is a chance to talk to a wide network of people about my first hand experiences as an apprentice. My apprenticeship has continually provided me with a challenge, new skills and tremendous opportunities. An apprenticeship is something I would strongly encourage people to consider.”
Sarah Sillars OBE, Semta’s chief executive, who will speak alongside Dr Cable, said: “This event is an ideal opportunity to showcase the excellent work being done in the automotive sector on apprenticeships.
“It is inspiring to hear the young people themselves talk of how they are making the most of the opportunities afforded by apprenticeships. They are role models which we hope many others will follow as we grow our own skills base to ensure the UK remains world class in the automotive sector.”
The automotive sector is one of the largest providers of apprenticeships within the UK, with industry welcoming apprentices at all ages and levels. The diversity of frameworks that cover the automotive industry in both manufacturing and retail highlights the importance of government support for apprenticeships to the automotive industry.
The sixth annual National Apprenticeship Week will take place from 11-15 March and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy. To keep up-to-date with the all the events during the week visit: www.apprenticeships.org.uk or follow #NAW2013 on Twitter. Web: www.semta.org.uk