Employers say government must focus on quality apprentices to close skills gap
With the UK skills shortage under intense scrutiny – businesses say ‘quality over quantity’ is key to future business success and productivity improvements.
Motor industry employers, including garages, dealerships and accident repair centres, are today calling on the government to focus their efforts on the quality of training rather than the number of new apprenticeships available to help their businesses grow.
The views of these successful businesses will add weight to growing skepticism around the deliverability and usefulness of the governments target of 3 million apprentices by 2020.
The businesses from all over the UK employ apprentices who have taken part in the IMI Skill Auto competition. The final takes place over the next three days at the NEC in Birmingham at Britain’s biggest careers event, the Skills Show. The competition showcases the world-class skills of quality automotive apprentices from an industry worth £152bn per year.
Colin Hagan, training manager at Riverpark Training, said:
“Apprentices provided with a placement rather than an employed position as an apprentice have a very poor retention rate with only 25% achieving level 2, compared to the employed apprentice route which has 90% retention. Local employers have told us they want keen enthusiastic young people, therefore it’s vital we interview all our new entrants to ensure they fit our employer’s criteria.
“The industry needs a quality skill base to safely repair the diverse range of vehicles currently on our roads, which cannot be fixed with a numbers game. government focus should only be on enlightening young people to the advantages of an apprenticeship as opposed to the university route, which doesn’t necessarily lead to full time employment.”
Steve Nash, IMI CEO, said:
“IMI Skill Auto is an excellent example of how quality training can provide an individual with a life-long skill, and allows these young apprentices to gain vital employability skills – as well as an opportunity to avoid university debts by earning their own money whilst training in the industry.
“All competitors competing over the next three days demonstrate the positive attitude needed in order to be successful – whether they’re training in a workshop or a customer-facing role they all contribute to the growth within the ever changing industry, and since the sales for electric and hybrid vehicles increase it’s more important than ever that we ensure technicians are equipped with the right knowledge and experience to work on our vehicles.”