Skills gap broadens as apprenticeships fall

Automotive businesses are missing out on valuable apprenticeships that could help fill the skills gap.

Ahead of National Apprenticeship Week (6-12 February 2023), the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is urging businesses to embrace apprenticeships and all the benefits they bring. Funding is available through the Government’s apprenticeship levy scheme, yet the latest data suggests this is underutilised in the automotive sector, meaning many businesses are missing out.

On average, 65% of all apprenticeships in the UK are supported by levy funds, but just 52% of automotive apprenticeships received such support in 2022, leaving the sector in the bottom third of all UK sectors hiring apprentices.

Joanna Hollingdale, careers and student membership manager of the IMI, said: “Compared to other industries, automotive had the sixth largest year-on-year percentage increase in apprenticeship starts last year. However, levels have a long way to go before they reach pre-Covid levels, which were already falling. The need to act now is becoming more urgent by the day.  We already do not have enough qualified professionals to meet the growing demand for technicians trained to work on the latest and most innovative vehicles – including electric, hybrid and ADAS-equipped.

“There is a vast range of apprenticeship courses available, meaning apprentices can find the stream that interests and motivates them the most. It also means employers can attract the right talent to fill current or future skills gaps, and the levy scheme takes away much of the wage burden. It really is a win-win for apprentices, employers and the wider industry.”