The jobs of apprentices working in the automotive industry at the moment have been given a lifeline by the SMMT.
The SMMT Apprentice Support Programme is a £100,000 initiative to cover all or some of the salaries of apprentices at small and medium-sized businesses whose jobs may be made redundant because of coronavirus-related business pressures.
Launched today (Sep 28), it will cover the money for up to a year.
The money has come from the SMMT’s Charitable Trust Fund (STCF) ahead of the government-funded furlough scheme finishing at the end of October, with new measures to support short-time working replacing it.
The SMMT said there were some 59,000 apprentices across the sector at the moment, all of them playing a vital role in the future growth of businesses throughout the entire automotive supply chain.
It added that investing in skill retention would help secure a pipeline of top talent for the future.
This would guarantee a line of succession as well as a return on investment for businesses that had already hired apprentices before the pandemic hit.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: The UK automotive industry is built on decades of craftsmanship, engineering excellence and innovation delivered by a highly skilled workforce.
‘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.’
Fund chairman Gareth Jones said: ‘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 from the STCF will provide critical and well-targeted support to ensure we retain some fantastic talent and potential in our industry.’
Successful applicants have to make a contribution towards the full £14,000 apprentice salary as business needs permit. This will unlock a stipend from the STCF.
Applications are open to SMMT member companies from today (Sep 28). To find our more and to apply, go to https://www.smmt.co.uk/smmt-apprentice-support-programme/.
The deadline is October 16, 2020.