Thatcham Research reveals lack of training focus

Thatcham Research doubled its MET technician capacity last year and plans to have almost 300 learners on programme by the end of 2023.

This is about a quarter more than 2022.

However, its analysis of the latest Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) data shows that this focus on new skills is not being replicated industry wide. Apprentice starts in collision repair occupations are in fact stagnant and have failed to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

In the education year 2020/21, apprentice starts had dropped as low as 432, just 45% of 2017/18 starts. In 2021/22 this number rose to 844, but for 2022/23 this number is currently 775 with signs that this will not grow significantly before the end of this education year.

The latest IMI Education Report confirms that the same is true when looking at all automotive apprenticeship starts, which have not recovered from the drop experienced during the Covid pandemic, and the sector remains behind on its use of levy funds.

The IMI report also highlights a decline in EV qualification uptake that could lead to a 25,000 shortfall in qualified technicians by 2032.

Jonathan Hewett, chief executive at Thatcham Research, said: “Supporting the repair sector remains a crucial focus for Thatcham Research. Through our industry-leading Automotive Academy, we are best equipped to provide training for future generations of repair technicians.

“Our role in this training provision is integral to the continued sustainability of the repair sector and I hope that our academy will continue to welcome classes of enthusiastic and passionate apprentices from across the UK.”