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    NAA Skills Update: Developing a Skills Hub, and ‘Apprentices Explained!’ Event, 5 July 2012

    Find out about the new Autohub, designed to help with employing and developing apprentices, who could be Adult Apprentices as well as young school or college leavers..


    This is my first skills update since joining the NAA as Project Manager for Autohub. This is the name that has been selected for the work which the NAA and its partners will be carrying out thanks to the NAA’s successful bid for funding through the Government’s Higher Apprentice programme.

    Why Autohub? Well, the programme isn’t just about companies working in isolation to develop their workforce, it’s about all members of the North West’s automotive community working together – to reduce the higher level skills deficit by employing and developing apprentices whose learning and development journey needn’t finish once they have completed their Advanced Apprenticeship.

    We refer to a ‘hub’ because we have a tremendous opportunity for employers who have insufficient understanding of apprenticeships to benefit from the knowledge and practical experience of other employers, some of whom have extremely impressive track records in the recruitment, training and development of apprentices. In fact, it’s not uncommon for many of the senior managers in those companies to have started their own careers as apprentices.

    Although it’s early days for Autohub, our engagement thus far with companies of all sizes has already thrown up some interesting suggestions including large companies “over training”, i.e. training apprentices for smaller companies; Autohub offering support on the legal/contractual aspects of apprenticeships; and small companies who struggle to recruit teaming up with larger companies on recruitment drives.

    But Autohub has been created for everyone’s benefit so it is important that we take on board the views of all employers and, to that end, you can be expecting a call from me at some point in the future.

    Adult Learning

    Of course, Apprenticeships aren’t just about recruiting young school or college leavers and we are extremely fortunate in the North West to have employers who are leading the way with the development of Adult Apprentices. Employers are already reporting a lack of higher level skills and the situation is set to get far worse. At the same time, rising retirement ages mean that people will be in employment for longer, so who better to fill those gaps than existing employees with their experience and knowledge of the business? Only last year, I was proud to gain an NVQ Level 4 in Business Support and while I possessed some of the knowledge and experience required, I also had to acquire new skills and experience in order to gain the NVQ. Proof indeed that it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks!

    ‘Apprentices Explained!’ Event, 5 July 2012

    Following the success of May’s ‘Apprentices Explained!’ event, we have decided to run another one on the morning of 5 July 2012. Aimed at all employers, regardless of whether or not they currently employ apprentices, it is an opportunity to find out more about apprenticeships (including Higher Apprenticeships), hear from employers of apprentices and also to hear from an apprentice who has completed an Advanced Apprenticeship and is continuing with his learning and development. Please contact me for further details.

    Thank you to all members of the North West’s automotive community who have been so welcoming and supportive of me during my first few weeks with the NAA and I look forward to working with all of you in the future, and if you would like to learn more about Apprenticeships, Autohub, or any other skills-related topics, I would be delighted to hear from you.

    Susan Butters

    Project Manager, Autohub

    Northwest Automotive Alliance

    Tel: 07815 284360


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