Automotive apprentices receive £100,000 support

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders to help small and medium-sized firms keep their apprentices

Struggling automotive firms running apprenticeship schemes are to receive £100,000 of support from an industry fund to help them retain their apprentices.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Charitable Trust Fund has earmarked the money to be given to small and medium-sized businesses where apprentices are at risk of being made redundant due to Covid-19.

Around 59,000 young people currently hold apprenticeship positions in the automotive sector. The SMMT says apprentices are vital to the growth of the industry, ensuring a line of succession for businesses.

The scheme aims to fully or partially cover the salaries of apprentices, which stand at £14,040 on average, in small and medium-sized businesses for up to a year. SMMT member companies can apply for funding, with successful applicants receiving a stipend from the Charitable Trust.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “The UK automotive industry is built on decades of craftsmanship, engineering excellence and innovation delivered by a highly skilled workforce, and its long-term recovery and growth will depend on retaining and developing this skills base.

“That’s why it’s so important that we do everything possible to ensure that we don’t let young talent slip through our hands as we strive to overcome the current crisis. Today’s apprentices are tomorrow’s leaders, and this scheme will help protect their jobs now so that they can help drive our future success.”

Gareth Jones, chairman of the SMMT Charitable Trust Fund, added: “As a former technical apprentice myself, I can only imagine the devastating impact of losing your apprenticeship, particularly if you are close to completing your qualification. This timely and much needed initiative… will provide critical and well targeted support to ensure we retain some fantastic talent and potential in our industry.”

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