More than half of automotive retail apprentices have been furloughed during crisis

Time 11:48 am, May 15, 2020

Research has found that more than half of apprentices working in the automotive retail sector have been furloughed during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The news from the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) found that 53 per cent of apprentices surveyed had been furloughed, with the body calculating it means that more than 2,500 apprentices are not working currently.

Chief executive of the IMI Steve Nash, pictured, said that ‘it seems that apprentices are an obvious group to furlough to manage costs’.

He said: ‘There has been much already said about the impact of COVID-19 on our future generations and this has been brought into sharp focus by our ongoing study of the sector.

‘Not surprisingly – but disappointingly all the same – it seems that apprentices have been an obvious group to furlough in order to manage costs.’

The data also found that 83 per cent of the 160 apprentices surveyed said that they had been unable to continue studying in the same way as before lockdown, while more shockingly 18 per cent can’t engage with their employer at all.

Nash continued: ‘While the scheme does offer some level of job security, for the time being, what seems to have been missed is that furloughing doesn’t mean individuals can’t still study and access the support they need to continue their learning.

‘This is a big concern for us in terms of whether the apprentices will actually return to the workplace at the end of the furlough period.

‘And that is not only a risk for the sector as it needs to be well prepared and well-skilled for the next generation of automotive technology. It is also a huge waste of the investment already made by the apprentices, their training centres and employers.’

The IMI has launched its own ‘Furlough Register’ to provide free learning resources to those struggling to access the materials they need.

More: Mass redundancies in car dealers could be put on hold as furlough scheme extended

More: Furlough scheme extended to October, 80 per cent of wages covered and part-time allowed

Ted Welford's avatar

Ted Welford is a motoring journalist for Car Dealer's parent company Blackball Media. He writes for a variety of motoring publications and tests the latest cars on a regular basis. He likes cleaning them too.

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