SMMT calls for government to bolster apprenticeships

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has set out its position on skills in a paper that outlines how government can work with industry to maximise investment in skills and training, while raising awareness of the job opportunities available.

The paper — Strengthening Skills for a Growing Economy — was discussed in Westminster yesterday at a meeting of the All-party Parliamentary Motor Group (APMG) to highlight the importance of developing skills within the motor industry as part of wider economic growth and rebalancing the economy.

The SMMT’s paper calls for government to commit to long-term funding and support for apprenticeships, seeking clarification on how it will work with businesses to implement the 75,000 new apprenticeships announced last year.

It sets out that government should support business investment in higher-level technical skills and vocational training, enabling the automotive workforce to compete on a level footing internationally.

It says that government also needs to ensure the skills provision is aligned with industry’s future needs, including a focus on ultra-low carbon vehicle production and low-carbon technologies. Funding, such as the Growth and Innovation Fund, needs to support the major up-skilling and re-skilling required for new technologies.

The SMMT seeks support initiatives to attract young people into careers in manufacturing. It also states that the image of engineering and manufacturing needs to be improved and career expectations better communicated. This should be extended to improving the reputation of apprenticeships and vocational training, as well as the financial benefits of apprenticeships.