A new Automotive Council report has revealed that even if Britain’s car industry roars ahead on productivity, the sector is facing a serious skills shortage and up to 5,000 jobs could be vacant nationwide.
The report, developed by automotive industry consultants SMMT Industry Forum on behalf of the Automotive Industrial Partnership, reveals also that of the top ten job types for which recruitment is most difficult, the majority are in engineering.
The renaissance of the UK automotive industry could, in fact, be undermined by the lack of skilled engineers and technicians to fill new jobs, despite efforts made by companies to increase training and apprenticeships.
In addition to the new personnel needed, there are also many new training requirements due to the adoption of new automotive technologies in the industry. According to the report, 71 different types of learning are required for more than 20,000 people working in the industry – 15% of whom have an immediate need for new training. The most critical training requirements are in lean manufacturing, advanced problem solving and tool making.
Unfortunately the struggle to fill these vacancies is even holding back growth and opportunities for business, and it is essential that both government and industry work together quickly to identify ways to plug this gap.
The Automotive Industrial Partnership, with the aim to ensure the UK’s automotive sector has the pipeline of skills talent it needs, has already made some important steps including the introduction of a new range of training programmes and heavy investments in apprenticeships and training for existing staff.
In addition future schemes must focus on quality and on the promotion of academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in schools in order to address the required demand of skilled workforce, engineers, technicians and designers.