New scheme targets 10,000 apprentices p/a

BMW Group has joined forces with other leading UK car manufacturers to launch an initiative that should bring up to 10,000 new faces into the automotive industry each year.

The Automotive Apprenticeship Matching Service, developed and funded through the government-supported Automotive Industrial Partnership, will help high quality candidates secure alternate apprenticeships if the one they’ve applied for is oversubscribed.

Also including Bentley, Ford, GKN, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Toyota and Vauxhall, the service has been launched on the back of further research highlighting a lack of skills training in the industry. Carried out by advanced manufacturing skills body Semta on behalf of the Automotive Industrial Partnership, the research found that a shortage of adequate training could hinder growth in the sector, particularly in manufacturing and engineering disciplines. It estimated there are up to 5,000 vacancies in the sector due to a lack of skills.

Al Parkes, chief operating officer from Semta, said, ‘Growing automotive-specific apprenticeship training provision in key skills shortage areas was a key recommendation in the research report and the launch of the Matching Service strongly supports this. The Matching Service is vital for the industry and has huge potential to be broadened to support the recruitment and development of new talent in the wider advanced manufacturing sector and indeed other disciplines, hugely benefiting employment as a whole in the UK.’

Dr Simon Farrall, head of apprentice and associate training at BMW Group and vice-chair of the Automotive Industrial Partnership, said, ‘As a major UK employer that is committed to developing skills in our industry, we’re delighted to be working with the Automotive Apprenticeship Matching Service.

‘Each year we have huge interest in our apprenticeship programmes and receive far more applications than there are places available. There are some very capable candidates who apply to us and we don’t want to simply turn people away.’

BMW Group employs more than 200 apprentices across its UK operations and receives around 1,000 applications for around 50 places each year. It believes Matching Service will benefit the wider automotive supply chain while also helping high-calibre candidates make a start in the industry.

Simon continued ‘By introducing these candidates to the Matching Service, engineering businesses can access these quality applicants, which enables them to recruit more effectively. This not only enables companies to secure their talent pipeline but also helps to retain and nurture much needed skills within the automotive sector.’

Jo Lopes, head of technical excellence at Jaguar Land Rover and chair of the Automotive Industrial Partnership, added, ‘As an industry, the automotive sector has a long-standing history of providing apprenticeships – and there are many great career opportunities.

‘But we recognise that there is more we can do to attract and support our new talent pipeline. By taking a collaborative and innovative approach to developing new skills solutions, with larger employers working alongside smaller component manufacturers we are ensuring that our whole industry will benefit.’

The Matching Service is an interactive service facilitated by apprenticeship matching platform GetMyFirstJob. It will work smartly and collaboratively with both candidates and companies across the supply chain, providing full support throughout the recruitment and development process.

Skills minister Nick Boles said, ‘The UK is the most productive of all European car manufacturers – if we are to maintain this position, it’s essential that we have the right skills. Apprenticeships provide an opportunity for young people to gain valuable skills that employers in the industry want and need and services like the Automotive Apprenticeship Matching Service are a prime example of industry working together to make the most of the opportunities they can offer.’