SMMT Relaunches Apprentice Support Programme

The UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Charitable Trust Fund has relaunched the SMMT Apprentice Support Programme, designed to help safeguard the jobs of apprentices currently working within the automotive industry. The scheme follows the conclusion of the government-funded furlough scheme.

The programme has earmarked £100,000 ($184,000) to cover all, or part of, apprentice salaries for those currently employed by small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) within the UK automotive industry, but whose positions are at risk of redundancy due to COVID-19 related business pressures.

The SMMT said there are around 59,000 young people employed in apprenticeship positions across the sector who play a vital role in the future growth of businesses throughout the entire automotive supply chain.

According to the society, investing in skill retention helps secure a pipeline of top talent for the future, ensuring a line of succession and a return on investment for businesses that had hired apprentices before the pandemic hit.

“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,” said Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the SMMT.

“That’s why it’s so important that we do everything possible to ensure that we don’t let today’s challenges hinder our long-term aspirations. 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.”

Gareth Jones, Chairman of the SMMT Charitable Trust Fund, said that as a former technical apprentice, he can imagine the devastating impact of losing an apprenticeship, particularly if someone is close to completing their 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,” Jones added.