Apprenticeships rise for first time since before pandemic


The current academic year saw a significant rise in people starting automotive apprenticeships, according to findings by the industry’s professional body, the IMI.

With the highest number of new enrolments since before the COVID-19 pandemic, starts have seen a 9% rise compared to the 2022-23 academic year.

“This uplift indicates a renewed interest in both the automotive sector generally and apprenticeships as an entry route, both of which are critical to build the talent pipeline for the future,” said Emma Carrigy, IMI research manager.

“Our new analysis suggests automotive is gaining a broader appeal, potentially fuelled by the advanced technologies that are becoming more commonplace such as ADAS and electric vehicles,” said Carrigy.

“And what is particularly interesting is that there has been a pronounced uplift in intermediate-level apprenticeships which may reflect a growing demand for foundational skills and entry-level qualifications, possibly serving as a gateway to more advanced training or responding to current job market needs.”

The IMI data also shows a substantial rise in the number of under-19s beginning automotive apprenticeships. This is the youngest cohort in this field for the first quarter in the past six years reflecting concerted outreach efforts to younger people.

The popularity of specific pathways within automotive apprenticeships has also been notable. The ‘Motor Vehicle Service and Maintenance Technician (Light Vehicle)’ pathway emerged as the most popular choice in the first quarter of the 2023/24 academic year, with 1,500 starts.

The ‘Autocare Technician’ pathway also experienced a significant 38% increase from the previous year, representing 28% of all automotive apprenticeship starts.

The IMI said these trends could be indicative of specific industry needs or a growing interest among apprentices in these areas, possibly driven by perceived job opportunities or the dynamic nature of automotive technology and servicing.

“Compared to other industries, automotive has the tenth highest percentage increase, which is incredibly good news for a sector that has a significant skills gap to fill,” added Carrigy. “And with Under 19s accounting for 64% of apprenticeship starts, there is much to be encouraged by to build the talent pipeline.”

There were 3,700 automotive apprenticeship starts in the first 3 months (Aug to Oct) of the academic year 2023/24 which is 9% higher than the same time the previous year. This is the highest first-quarter performance since the academic year 2019/20.

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