Apprentice starts on the rise

Repair sector sees majority of new intake

Published:  30 June, 2014

Starts in automotive apprenticeships in England have seen their first increase since the start of 2010, according to research by the IMI.

Figures show a 4.2% increase across all automotive subjects, with 10,940 starters in 2012/2013. Figures have been in decline since 2009/2010, mainly due to the economic recession, with a 14.8% decrease recorded in 2011/2012.

The research by the Skill Funding Agency shows that most starts are in the Vehicle Repair and Maintenance sector, with 8,390 apprentices beginning their careers in 2012/2013, representing 76.7% of total starts, an increase on the previous period of 3%. The next biggest area for starts was in Vehicle Body and Paint with 1,140 new apprentices. Meanwhile, Vehicle Sales recorded the biggest overall increase of 233.3%

The findings come ahead of proposed changes to the model of apprenticeship programmes, coming in England from 2017 which the IMI believes will make it more difficult for smaller businesses to take on new apprentices. The government's proposed changes would see the administration duties of apprenticeship registration shift from the training provider to the employer, along with an added financial contribution.

IMI CEO Steve Nash comments: "Apprenticeships starts are a key indicator of growth in the automotive retail sector and the increase of new starts in 2012/13 are a sure sign of green shoots in the industry.  However, as a sector, we must work together to ensure that any proposed changes to the apprenticeship programmes do not derail this growth. The recruitment and training of the next generation is vital to the industry's future success."

The news follows research by the IMI showing that by the end of their third year, an apprentice could generate between 150% and 300% return on investment, usually within 18 to 24 months for an apprentice with no previous experience.

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