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    Industry News: Automotive Council Skills Report published

    The Automotive Council Skills report has been published, delivered through the Automotive Industrial Partnership…

    The Automotive Council Skills report provides an Employers’ Views of the Jobs and Skills Required for the UK Automotive Industry.

    Executive Summary


    The work of the Automotive Council has made much progress in identifying opportunities to grow the supply chain, and has put strategies in place to meet the opportunities offered by future technologies.

    As this has translated into increased vehicle output, compounded by an increasing share of supply chain work being won by UK suppliers, so the need to address the consequential skills and employment opportunities has come into sharp focus.

    This report sets out to identify skills needs both to fill current vacancies, and to meet the needs of a growing industry. It offers proposals to meet these needs through training, apprenticeships, and also by promoting the industry as one that offers secure, rewarding employment opportunities.

    The research was conducted between May and September 2015. Qualitative and quantitative information was gathered through structured interviews with leading vehicle makers and a sample of Tier-1 to Tier-n supply chain businesses. This was supplemented by an internet based survey sample of the contributing businesses. In total 61 automotive companies, (OEM to Tier-n businesses), employing just over 83,200 people within the UK, participated in the Skills Survey.

    Key Findings

    Just over 2,500 vacancies were highlighted by the employers surveyed as being ‘difficult to fill’ or ‘challenging’ jobs and these were categorised into 57 different types of role that sit within the newly created Automotive Industry Job Framework (see Appendix 1). A quarter of those jobs were classed as ‘critical’ meaning they have been open for a period of three months or more and were impacting on business productivity and output. The top 10 current and future priority jobs shown in this report make up 70% of the 2,500 vacancies in the survey. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of vacancies within the top 10 are engineering positions with a particular concentration around design and production engineering, with these disciplines accounting for 40% of immediate vacancies.

    The top reasons for unfilled vacancies were cited as business growth, lack of availability of skills in the job market, and competition for scarce resources.

    Employers stated that in order to fill urgent vacancies they are broadening their search campaigns abroad and using contractors. This in turn has cost and visa issue implications. Some employers advised that they are taking a longer term approach, hiring graduates and apprentices as well as developing specifically tailored training programmes with local universities, colleges or training providers to meet their future need. However, this doesn’t address the urgent requirement now.

    The primary reasons for needing to train up the current workforce were cited as business growth, optimising business efficiency and technology advances. In total, 71 different types of learning are required for over 20,000 people, 15% of whom have an immediate learning need. Lean manufacturing is the top priority over the next five years with survey respondents keen to optimise efficiency to aid their business output, growth and productivity.

    Linked to this are other skills that will ultimately drive higher standards of output and optimisation, such as advanced problem solving and quality core tools training. Another key need is leadership development across a multitude of multi-disciplinary supervisory and managerial roles to manage current and expanding workforces.


    The key recommendations to address the issues identified in this report include:

    • Ensuring a pipeline of young talent comes into the industry through a co-ordinated approach to STEM subjects at schools, colleges and universities, as well as engaging in such schemes as the Art of Manufacturing, Industrial Cadets and work experience opportunities.
    • Across the industry, businesses should be looking at how they can benefit and maximise the opportunities offered by government’s latest approach to apprenticeships and fully support the recently launched Automotive Apprenticeship Matching Service.
    • Creating and promoting a single communication portal publicising the different job, career opportunities and skills information for the industry.
    • Providing industry accredited training schemes with the content and competence outcomes driven by employers with a rigorous approach to governing the quality standards on a national basis.
    • Companies engaging with their suppliers by offering training and work experience across the industry, and when staff are temporarily surplus, offering their people on loan to strengthen their supply chain.
    • Companies taking further steps to manage the longevity of their current workforce as they move into their later years of life, particularly around working patterns and practices.
    • Developing home grown talent but continuing to be able to search for resources globally and explore a more diverse workforce.
    • Continuing to survey the industry to understand the current, ongoing and relevant skills challenges required to ensure that any future focus and funding is directed towards the highest priority needs of the sector.

    Link to report:- Employers’ Views of the Jobs and Skills Required for the UK Automotive Industry,


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