Fighting for the future of apprenticeships


Apprenticeships have been thrust into the eye of a perfect storm due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses furloughed staff when the lockdown began and only recently began reopen. But we’re not returning to normality and there are two big questions that need answering.

Will there be positions for apprentices currently in the system to return to and what impact will there be on future intakes?

We can’t shy away from the challenges. Our own research has painted a difficult picture for the industry, with 26% of employers stating they’re unlikely to take on any more apprentices this year, and a further 40% are reviewing their position. Just 9% said their plans are unchanged.

These are issues that will have huge ramifications for the largest and smallest businesses as well as training providers.

Lobbying Government

I’ve written to Gillian Keegan, the Apprenticeships and Skills minister asking for clarification on what can be done to make sure apprenticeships continue to be supported. And I’ll continue to speak up for the industry to make sure our concerns are heard.

I’ve been invited to take part in a roundtable discussion organised by the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards, and will challenge Ms Keegan where we urgently need more clarity.

Getting the help that’s needed

The levy clawback is one area that needs to be addressed. We want a two-year pause put in place. At present larger organisations aren’t looking to take on any more apprentices in the coming months but that could change if money in the pot was available, giving businesses funds to pay for apprentices rather than the government simply taking the money back.

We aren’t ignoring smaller businesses, and innovative thinking will be needed to find solutions to the problems they face, but if we can get the bigger players up to speed there should be a trickle-down effect to others in the sector.

That also includes training providers – many of whom have invested in facilities to service the motor industry – as any reduction in the number of apprentices coming through the system could have a fundamental impact on apprentices coming into the industry.

Keeping skills up to date

Your continued learning remains crucial, and although these are difficult times it’s important that you make use of the IMI resources available, keep your skills up to date and ready to jump back into the workforce. You can find a host of courses – some free – on the IMI’s website.

Rest assured we’re fighting to make sure that apprentices remain a cornerstone of the industry. They bring new skills, ideas and approaches as we prepare for huge culture changes in terms of the vehicles we drive and the technologies powering them.

As we move forward, if you have any questions that you need answering or want to discuss how the IMI can help you, please contact us on +44 (0)1992 519025, or send emails to
With my very best wishes,