SMMT Apprentice Support Programme set to protect jobs

Financial support is being offered to help safeguard the jobs of apprentices working within the automotive industry.

SMMT Apprentice Support Programme
(Image: SMMT)

The SMMT Apprentice Support Programme, launched by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Charitable Trust Fund (SCTF), comes as the government-funded furlough scheme ends on October 31, 2020 and is replaced by new measures to support short time working.

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The SMMT Apprentice Support Programme has set aside £100,000 to cover all or part of the salaries of apprentices currently employed by small and medium-sized businesses within the UK automotive industry, but whose positions are at risk of redundancy due to the economic impact of Covid-19.

“As a former technical apprentice myself I can only imagine the devastating impact of losing your apprenticeship, particularly if you are close to completing your qualification,” said Gareth Jones, chairman of the SMMT Charitable Trust Fund. “This timely and much needed initiative from the STCF will provide critical and well targeted support to ensure we retain some fantastic talent and potential in our industry.”

According to SMMT, there are currently 59,000 young people employed in apprenticeship positions across the sector and ‘developing a future generation of experts is crucial for long-term growth and success.’

The UK Automotive industry is built on decades of craftsmanship, engineering excellence and innovation delivered by a highly skilled workforce – and its long-term recovery and growth will depend on retaining and developing this skills base,said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. That’s why it’s so important that we do everything possible to ensure that we don’t let young talent slip through our hands as we strive to overcome the current crisis. Today’s apprentices are tomorrow’s leaders, and this scheme will help protect their jobs now so that they can help drive our future success.”

The scheme aims to secure existing young talent within businesses by covering their salaries either in full or in part for up to a year. The scheme is open to SMMT member companies and requires successful applicants to make a contribution towards the full £14,000 apprentice salary.

Applications for the SMMT Apprentice Support Programme are open to SMMT member companies from today, September 28, 2020. The deadline for all applications is 16 October 2020.