Motor Industry Chief warns of imminent skills shortage

IMI, the professional body represents the retail motor industry worth £152 billion per year, has been warning of the need for government to help attract talented young people into the industry for some time, but new research showing a shift in demand toward alternative fuel vehicles after the diesel emission controversy has heightened the risks to business in Britain of a skills deficit.

Research conducted for the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) found nearly 40% of UK drivers were considering buying or leasing an electric/hybrid vehicle in the next two years - a dramatic increase from the 2% of total car sales for electric/hybrid vehicles in 2014. Factors such as brand name, fuel efficiency and the environment were main reasons for drivers considering a move from petrol and diesel engines to more cost effective vehicles.  Currently only 1% of the industry workforce is quailed to work on electric/hybrid vehicles.

IMI CEO Steve Nash will call on Ministers to invest in a nationwide careers programme to attract intelligent enthusiastic young people into training for a career as electric and hybrid vehicle technicians.

Steve Nash said, "Careers advice available in schools has been at best unhelpful for the motor industry since government reforms in 2012, and education cuts have meant schools are hoarding young people which consequently effects the on going skills shortage. Without significant investment from the government to bring young people into our industry, businesses will struggle to service its customers and provide the high level jobs the economy desperately needs.

"IMI is honouring the industry's top apprentices at Silverstone today to recognise their skills and dedication. These young people have world-class talent and clearly demonstrate the high potential available in this generation. It is incumbent on the government to help us bring more of them into the motor industry for their future and for ours."

The shortlist for these awards includes apprentices from big names such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover, as well as small independent businesses from across the UK.