RMI urges Trailblazer funding review

RMI Bodyshops (NAB & VBRA) has urged the government to review its recently released funding levels for the new trailblazer apprenticeships.

Jason Moseley, director of the UK’s trade association representing vehicle body repair, commented, ‘The new funding rates proposed fall short of those needed to deliver a robust and quality apprenticeship programme. The proposed rates do not cover the funding required for equipment, tools, products and teaching resource to deliver these programmes.

‘The government is proposing to drop the current apprenticeship framework rates for a 16-18 year old in some vehicle body and repair programmes by up to 26%. We are urging government to leave the existing rates for 16-18 framework apprenticeship programmes until the new ‘standard’ rates are agreed and implemented for six months.

‘Motor vehicles are becoming increasingly technical and complex, and unless the government correctly funds the skills needed to repair them, there is a real risk of unsafe vehicles being returned to the road following a repair.

‘Funding levels in our industry are four times less than that that for an aerospace technician – which is concerning to see as modern motor vehicles are often more technology laden than an aircraft.

‘These new funding rates will affect hundreds of apprentices in our sector at a time where we should be increasing our investments – not reducing. This has a significant knock on effect to insurance companies who use our members to repair their policyholder’s vehicles safely.’

Jason continued, ‘We are however pleased to hear that the Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, new minister of state for the Department for Education is now going to review STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math’s) funding levels, which will hopefully improve the levels needed for the body repair sector.’