Government petition to tackle skills crisis

A new petition has been launched urging the government to allow the automotive sector to tackle the skills gap by recruiting foreign workers.

The petition has been launched by Ingenia Recruitment together with the IMI and the NBRA.

Steve Shaw, Director of Ingenia Recruitment, said: “The vast majority of workshops and bodyshops are, or have, experienced major difficulties when recruiting and retaining staff. This leads to lost income, increased staff costs, increased labour costs to customers, more transient staff, less competent staff being employed in the hope that they work out, and dissatisfied customers.”

Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI, said: “The non-manufacturing side of automotive, which includes the sales & distribution as well as the service and repair networks, employs over 600,000 people in the UK, but is facing unprecedented skills shortages. Currently the sector has over 23,000 vacancies, which equate to four per cent of the workforce. And many of those vacancies are in the technical roles such as light vehicle technicians, HGV technicians and body and paint technicians. These are skilled roles which require extensive training; typically at least three years to become qualified at the minimum level.

“Apprentices have long been the lifeblood of the automotive sector. But the inevitable reductions in the recruitment and training of apprentices resulting from the pandemic have created a shortage of young talent which will take some years to catch up from, despite the fact that employers are recruiting new trainees at record rates. So other solutions must be found and one such solution is for the key automotive technical roles previously mentioned to be added to the UK Government’s Shortage Occupation List, facilitating easier recruitment of talent from abroad. That is why the Institute of the Motor Industry is supporting this petition.”