With a value of £13.3 billion to the UK economy, and employing 160,000 people in manufacturing roles alone, the automotive industry is a significant vehicle for growth in the UK.
It’s also a field that is undergoing monumental change.
Between a £2 billion investment in the sector until 2025, and an upcoming deadline to transition the nation to electric vehicles by 2035, apprentices are already leading a skills revolution that will change the face of motoring as we know it.
Nevertheless, there is plenty of work to do, and the pace of change is outpacing the number of apprentices available.
This creates an amazing opportunity for AOs and Training Providers to benefit, by providing those journeys that turn potential talent into industry changemakers.
Here’s what they need to know to put themselves in the driving seat.
A sector in need of diverse skills
Motoring and manufacturing go hand in hand – but beyond mechanics, technicians, tinkerers and petrol-heads, the motoring industry is far more diverse than it seems at first glance. This means that variety of places apprenticeships take place are just as varied, for example:
- Dealerships and Retailers with major manufacturers (BMW, Audi and even Ferrari)
- Back Offices at Manufacturers
- Technician and Mechanics (including roles with dedicated MOT specialisms)
- Heritage Motoring
- Vehicle Certification
- Autonomous Vehicles
In this context, the 160,000 people involved in manufacturing for the automotive industry is just one part of a far larger sector. With the growth we are witnessing across every discipline that makes up the automotive industry, it’s no wonder that apprenticeship starts increased by 45.3% between 2021-22.
For AOs and Training Providers, this one industry translates into hundreds of constantly evolving standards across multiple business areas (from HR and Manufacturing to Legal and AI)… all of which need to be kept track of.
However, this goes without mentioning the single most important development in the industry happening right now.
The impending transition to electric vehicles
It’s not insider knowledge that ahead of the 2035 target to end the sale of electric vehicles, a massive transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is taking place.
It’s also happening quickly. The equivalent of one EV is being sold in the UK every 15 seconds.
However, despite that figure, and the general growth of the EV industry, a much quicker pace is needed to meet our legal deadline – and several barriers remain in the way:
- EVs are still perceived as a luxury – with affordability being the greatest barrier to adoption.
- Many believe that we lack the infrastructure to support the transition – the SMMT suggests we will need 2.3m public chargers to support 8-11 million EVs by 2030 – but the government’s target only stands at 300,000
- Lastly, the talent gap in technicians is widening – with a shortfall of 35,700 ‘Techsafe™’ EV technicians by 2030, significant recruitment will be needed to meet the demands of the ambitious deadline ahead.
Nevertheless, out of the challenges come opportunities, and it’s not just the motoring industry that are banking on apprentices to make up the distance.
For apprentices, pathways to fields related to the EV transition are highly attractive – as they lead to highly sought-after (and future-proof) careers. As an example, Jaguar Land Rover offered 300 apprenticeships in Electrification, Self-Driving Vehicles, AI and other IT-based disciplines this year alone.
The market conditions don’t just favour apprentices, however. It has represented an opportunity for AOs and Training Providers to establish themselves as trailblazers - onboarding many apprentices and developing standards. The IMI has led in this field, developing innovative new standards such as Level 3 Award in Electric/Hybrid Vehicle System Repair and Replacement.
Lastly, the EV transition also plays hand-in-hand with a broader concern about sustainability in the field, which is of interest to organisations guiding the next generation of apprentices.
Sustainability and inclusion
As Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the SMMT has stated, sustainability isn’t just a matter of meeting the aims of the net-zero transition, but also ‘striving for continued improvements across a variety of environmental, social and economic metrics’
Developing the skills to support a transition to more sustainable vehicles is the big target on the horizon – but ensuring people from all backgrounds have opportunities to make up that workforce.
Examples of this, such as the SMMTs Sustainability Report, and the award-winning work of the IMI’s Diversity Taskforce have highlighted the social impact that apprenticeships can have – which isn’t unique to motoring.
As you already know, apprenticeships can provide routes to prestigious careers that previously may only have been available in University, or to those with pre-existing connections to industry.
For AOs and Training Providers, the data they have on apprentices is critical for understanding who is taking apprenticeships, and for communicating directly with them to understand the accommodations and changes that they can make to make EPA more inclusive.
There’s no shortage of reasons to be excited about the next year in Apprenticeships, and in the automotive industry, this is doubly true.
Nevertheless, the demands on the industry are just as great. In motoring, various assessors (from skills tests to professional discussions) need assessment and reporting tools that can keep up.
Likewise, AOs and Training Providers need to stay abreast of ever-evolving standards to catch up with the pace of change in the industry. Equally, a growing number of apprentices to onboard will mean systems that can’t onboard, track and communicate with apprentices will struggle to cope.
How can epaPRO help?
For AOs and Training Providers in the automotive industry, one universal hub for EPA management is all they need to meet these demands. With epaPRO, you can:
- Have a bespoke, universal hub for everything EPA – bringing together every apprentice, every standard and every piece of data into one, easy to use platform.
- Take advantage of smart integrations with your favourite tools – from Aptem for apprentice onboarding to Microsoft 365 to sync all of your appointments and key deadlines.
- Communicate directly with every stakeholder within one platform with Microsoft Teams integrated into the platform – meaning that apprentices, training providers, assessors and AOs all have oversight on the apprentice journey.
- Set-up, run and report on every type of assessment you need – from MCQs to Skills Tests and MCQs, directly within epaPRO with epaPRO ASSESS (powered by award-winning risr/ assessment technology).
It’s EPA management technology that is up to the pace of growth that the automotive industry is experiencing, and if you feel that you could benefit from streamlined management, reduced admin burden, and tools that give you unparalleled insight into the apprentice journey, book a demo today – there’s nothing to lose: https://www.skilltechsolutions.co.uk/request-a-demo