Demand for highly-skilled vehicle technicians is gaining traction across the country. But, as the pool of fully proficient, trained candidates is dwindling, investment in training needs to be high on the agenda in 2018.
“In 2016 pockets of the country were feeling the pinch with the skills shortage,” comments Autotech Recruit’s MD Gavin White. “However, in 2017, garages across the whole of the UK felt the strain. Unless financial provisions are made for training soon, this deficit in skills will deepen.”
While reports indicated a slight drop in car sales at the end of 2017, manufacturing output is still high and, overall, the automotive sector is thriving. Putting it into context, last year was the third best year in a decade, and employment opportunities are increasing. Couple this with the rapidly evolving technological advancements of vehicles, and the skills gap is widening as garages seek to recruit the most highly skilled technicians.
“Garage owners have realised the financial implications of having an un-manned MOT station and are taking on temporary, highly skilled, technicians to avoid any losses,” comments Gavin. “With Brexit likely to impact the stream of migrant workers the industry has relied upon in previous years, motor industry bosses should be doing more to safeguard their current workforce and offer training provisions to retain their current workforce.”
Over 70% of technicians seeking employment through Autotech Recruit cite lack of progression as the overriding factor for them wanting to move on. Surprisingly, money is actually lower down on the list. This reinforces the essential need for motor industry bosses to build in a culture for life-long learning, in order to equip technicians with the necessary skills required to deal with the rapidly changing industry.
For instance, over the coming years, there will be an increase in the number of electric vehicles entering the market. But, if vehicle technicians are not adequately trained, it will only be a question of time before somebody, without the right knowledge, puts a spanner in a high voltage area.
While retaining current workforce is undoubtedly essential, so too is the need to develop and nurture young, home-grown talent. Over the years apprenticeships have been a route to harness the flexible, highly skilled and productive workforce for the future. However, since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy last year, the number of apprentices entering schemes across all UK industries has dropped by almost 57%.*
“It is vital that training becomes an integral part for automotive workers today, to ensure the industry has flexible, highly skilled and productive workforce,” Gavin concludes. “But, getting the education framework right is essential to attract a younger generation and guarantee the UK automotive economy thrives.”
*Department for Education