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    Event review: The Automotive Industrial Partnership Launch Event, 12 March at Cholmondeley Room & Terrace, House of Lords, London

    Joining a plethora of key Automotive Industry/Sector representatives at the beautiful Cholmondeley Room and Terrace, House of Lords, on the river Thames, the Automotive Industrial Partnership was officially launched – showing how OEM collaboration in the sector is vowing to bridge the skills gaps and attract the next generation of Automotive Engineers/skilled workers.

    The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has welcomed an £11.3 million Employer Ownership Pilot fund skills boost for the automotive sector and it’s clear that this collaboration has set itself clear goals in which to engage with and support school children from the ages of 9 to 19+ and create the much needed future skills to support growth in the automotive sector. The partnership also focuses on ‘upskilling’ those already employed in the sector.

    The event was led by key SEMTA representatives and an exciting overview was given by Jo Lopes – AIP Chairman and Head of Technical Excellence at Jaguar Land Rover. This was followed by a brief overview of each work stream focus area gaining support via this project.

    These areas are: Basic Skills; Apprenticeships; Graduates; People in Work and New Growth Technologies – all of which will comprehensively provide a much needed injection of skills development and stronger UK OEM/supply chain competitiveness in years to come.

    Presenters included senior Automotive representatives: Ian Green, Senior Controller/Global Training Centre – Nissan; Dr Simon Farrall, Head of Apprentice and Associate Training – BMW; Andrew Parsons, Section Manager/Technical Skills Development – Toyota Manufacturing.

    There was also a New Growth Technologies overview provided by Dr Steve Maggs, Principal Teaching Fellow – University of Warwick. Delegates were enlightened and entertained by Alex Cazals, a Product Development Graduate at JLR who showed with great composure (and wit) just what the industry needs to attract to the sector, to secure and increase its global capacity and capability for years to come.

    Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Ford, General Motors, GKN, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and Toyota are some of the UK’s biggest automotive employers, and will work together with the government, SEMTA and SMMT through the Automotive Council to boost workforce skills, now and for the long term. This includes creating an industry standard ‘jobs framework’ and identifying employment ‘hot spots’, to encourage more young people into automotive manufacturing careers and to deliver clear development pathways to help them to progress. Initiatives include:

    • Giving 4,500 9 year-olds an experience of working in the industry through a one day production simulation
    • Taking on 960 11 to 16 year-old Industrial Cadets, to develop vital industry skills in team working, communications and problem solving over a 6 day programme
    • Providing a route to work for 225 19 plus year-olds, with a 15-day programme offering vocational training and simulated work activities designed by their potential future employers. Assessing functional and employability skills will lead to further work experience at a host company, helping young people with little or no workplace experience and vocational skills on a route to possible future apprenticeships

    Existing employees at all levels will also benefit from industry collaboration to strengthen their technical, management and leadership skills. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be supported in gaining access to industry standard skills development. While talented, qualified engineers from other professions, such as the Armed Forces, will be able to train to apply their knowledge and skills in the automotive industry.

    Jo Lopes, Chair of the Automotive Industrial Partnership and Head of Technical Excellence, Jaguar Land Rover, said:

    “The Automotive Industrial Partnership brings together industry employers on an unprecedented scale. By working collaboratively and taking an innovative and sector-wide approach, we are ensuring that the UK’s automotive sector can grow and retain the skills talent that is so vital for the industry’s continued success.”

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham