Thatcham calls for funding clarity

Uncertainty over access to funding could jeopardise government targets of delivering three million new apprentice starts over the next four years, according to Thatcham Research.

According to a recent report by the Automotive Council skills shortages in the industry could see up to 5,000 jobs left vacant. Whilst a separate report from Engineering UK concluded that the UK does not have the current capacity or the required rate of growth to meet the forecast demand for skilled engineers and technicians by 2022.

‘Apprentice graduates form the backbone of the UK automotive industry and, more specifically, the crash repair sector’, said Thatcham Research head of operations, Dean Lander. ‘It’s imperative that training providers like ourselves are given the financial flexibility to support this automotive success story.’

Thatcham feels that as an automotive academy backed by a fully operational vehicle research centre Thatcham it is better positioned than most to understand the challenges brought about by new technology.

‘We’ve worked hard to ensure our apprentice programmes continue to deliver highly relevant learning. We know that the skills and new talent are certainly out there and we know that advances in technology will continue to generate inspirational opportunities in the industry. What’s more of a concern is that delays on funding decisions could be stifling potential growth,’ explained Dean.

Thatcham Research is preparing to work closely with a consortium of crash repairers, insurers and industry specialists in creating the new standards which will be even more closely linked to the ever changing demands of the industry as part of the Trailblazers initiative.

‘Giving those involved in the industry the opportunity to structure the learning framework makes fundamental sense. However, all the good intentions could count for little if cash flow and funding concerns prevents training providers and employers from taking on the required number of new learners,’ said Dean.

He continued, ‘National Apprenticeship Week is focused on helping apprentices ‘Rise To The Top’ – we are aiming to ensure the foundations are strong enough to help keep them there.’