Semta scheme supports key sector training

1 min read

The UK automotive industry is being encouraged to reskill its workforce by accessing a government-backed scheme designed to support training in the engineering industry.

The £65m programme is part of the Train to Gain initiative run by Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies.

Train to Gain will act as a brokerage skills service to offer funding in a range of training courses, including apprenticeships, business improvement techniques and NVQ’s.

Skills shortages are estimated to cost England £700m a year in lost productivity. However, Semta hopes the initiative will combat this loss and improve the UK’s position in the international automotive market.

Semta’s chief executive, Philip Whiteman, said: ‘Our role is to enhance the sector's competitiveness and, during these tough times, it makes sense to train for the upturn. We are working with automotive companies on establishing what they need to succeed and our specialist advisors will help them develop training plans that will produce economic value.

‘The offer is particularly relevant for the supply chain as the majority of automotive employers are small, with 82 per cent of all sites in the UK employing fewer than 50 people. The UK is unique in the European automotive industry in that the majority of the workforce is in the automotive supply chain rather than the vehicle manufacturing sector.’

Businesses can apply for grants of between £500 and £1,800 per employee, depending on what training is needed. The government plans to support over 800,000 employees and increase investment in scheme to over £1bn by 2010-11.