Executive View: Automotive’s SOS for Skills

James Lett, technical knowledgeable at Autodata, asks how the business can encourage extra individuals to enter the sphere.

As Nationwide Apprenticeship Week comes round once more, we recognise that the UK’s commerce business continues to be going through a labour scarcity concern. That is very true within the automotive sector, the place it’s predicted we’ll expertise a shortfall of 160,000 employees by 2031 attributable to an ageing inhabitants, a discount in migration and many individuals leaving the career all collectively.

This scarcity of bold individuals doing exhausting work with their arms begs the query: How can we encourage extra individuals to enter the sphere? And maintain them there?

That is very true for the youthful technology. We ought to be inspiring them to discover alternatives to tackle vocational work, altering the present narrative {that a} profitable profession solely comes from attending college and dealing at a desk.

Encouraging apprenticeship schemes

As we all know, jobs throughout the expert trades play an important function in sustaining a well-functioning society, and the apprenticeship schemes into them slim socioeconomic disparities and gas social mobility.

There is a slight false impression that apprenticeship schemes are low paying. Nonetheless, a current examine revealed that the common wage for an apprentice technician’s wage stands at upwards of £26,000 per yr, with the potential to earn over £100,000 as soon as accomplished. That shouldn’t be sniffed at.

The incredible information is that efforts to draw apprentices to the automotive business have intensified, resulting in a major enhance in job postings. Promoting for apprentices has surged since 2020, with job postings for all automotive occupations reaching report highs in January 2023, in response to the IMI.

Furthermore, The Unbiased Storage Affiliation (IGA) has urged Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to introduce new funding for apprenticeships in his Spring Price range, as numbers have plummeted because the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017, leading to a 39% lower in new Degree 2 & 3 Gentle Automobile apprenticeship registrations.

Sure, college levels act as a pathway to many careers. However, they aren’t the one choice. It is important, particularly for younger individuals, to contemplate all their choices earlier than figuring out their future profession paths, and the business must be encouraging that.

A brand new kind of automotive technician job

With rising demand for EV repairs and duties involving software program updates and automobile upgrades, the way in which we method work within the automotive area is evolving. To protect the way forward for the business, we have to recognise that these developments could make this job extra attractive for tech-savvy individuals wanting a job that doesn’t contain a desk.

Being an automotive technician is now not solely about tightening bolts (though it will by no means cease being vital!). Automation and robotics are enhancing effectivity, security, and precision within the business. These transformations want a recent set of abilities—ones that mix technical experience with artistic problem-solving.

Getting younger individuals enthusiastic about these developments and alternatives is the important thing to inspiring a brand new technology of execs within the automotive area. That is particularly vital for at this time’s technology of college leavers who’ve grown up in a digital world and need to work in a job that enables them to additional immerse themselves in it.

So, what must be carried out?

Business-wide assist for coaching technicians is particularly vital because the automotive business modifications to incorporate extra non-traditional vehicles equivalent to EVs. One of many greatest challenges we’re seeing at this time being the widening abilities hole in repairing these autos.

The explanations behind this hole are complicated. Technicians aren’t getting the specialist coaching wanted, not as a result of to their very own shortcomings, however due to underlying challenges confronted by impartial workshops. These challenges embrace the price of instruments, lack of governmental assist for coaching funding, and the scarcity of time for coaching attributable to fewer technicians getting into the business.

Though workshop software program instruments can improve effectivity, the unanimous settlement is obvious: there have to be extra available coaching for each new and skilled technicians. Nurturing apprenticeship programmes are one surefire method to assist the way forward for automotive and fulfil these present abilities gaps, however extra must be carried out.

This duty doesn’t relaxation solely on the workshops; a collective effort is required to handle these rising abilities gaps. The federal government should do extra to domesticate a brand new technology of technicians and to equip garages to satisfy these evolving calls for. We can not sit quiet whereas concrete assist for vocational abilities is being left behind.

James Lett is a technical knowledgeable at Autodata, a platform that gives mechanics with the technical and actual time info wanted to successfully work on over 40,000 autos.


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