Automotive employers need to urgently re-engage with apprenticeship schemes to ‘Build the Future’

Apprenticeships IMI

At start of National Apprenticeship Week the IMI urges automotive employers to redress the balance as sector sees 63% drop in apprenticeships for first quarter of academic year.

As National Apprenticeship Week (8-14 February 2021) starts today with a theme of ‘Build the Future’, the automotive sector professional body, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), has urged employers to re-engage with apprentice schemes.  As Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI explained, with less than a decade before the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles is banned, the sector urgently needs to build its pipeline of trained technicians.

“It is hugely disappointing, albeit not very surprising, that automotive was one of the worst hit sectors for apprentice recruitment in 2020. The first quarter of the 2020/21 academic year saw a 63% drop compared to the same period for 2019/20. And this is a concern for a sector that faces one of its biggest challenges in a century as it prepares for the electric vehicle revolution.” 

The latest Department for Education data on apprentices released at the end of January shows that there were 1,575 automotive apprenticeships in the first quarter of the 2020/21 academic year (Aug-Oct); 63% lower than the first quarter of the 2019/20 academic year. Comparing subject areas, automotive apprenticeship starts have seen the fourth largest fall with only travel & tourism, manufacturing technologies and creative arts seeing larger drops.

Vehicle maintenance and repair apprenticeship starts have fallen by 95% year on year and due to the high numbers usually undertaking this apprenticeship, the fall accounts for almost half of the fall in automotive apprenticeships overall. Another worrying trend is that the 25+ age group has seen the largest drop in apprenticeship starts in automotive at 77% year on year.  Yet it is this age group that could bring immense value to the sector, bringing experience from other industries.

The IMI’s analysis of the DfE data also shows that the proportion of apprenticeship starts supported by ASA levy funding fell by 76% year on year in the automotive sector 

“What particularly concerns us at the IMI is that there has been a significant drop in automotive firms accessing Apprentice Levy funds, yet this would provide vital support when business finances are under pressure”, added Steve Nash. “We would urge any employer unsure about what funding they can access to contact our support team who can provide guidance and support.”

To find out more visit Levy | Institute of The Motor Industry