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Recruitment drive starts at school

F1’s Tony Jardine backs new Pre-Apprenticeship scheme for 14-year olds


As vehicle technology becomes increasingly complex and sophisticated, the need for skilled technicians has never been greater, yet research by the motor industry suggests that there is an estimated shortage of 15,000 apprentice technicians in the automotive sector. For the first time, a major initiative has begun to enable school pupils to experience working in one of the most challenging and exciting sectors of industry and gain a national qualification as the first step on the career ladder.

Launched by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), the Pre-Apprenticeship Level 1 Award is aimed at capable young 14-16 year-olds interested in vehicle maintenance, body repair and refinishing. The two-year programme, which is studied alongside GCSEs, gives candidates a ‘fast-track’ route to a full three-year apprenticeship.

There is high demand for places on the Pre-Apprenticeship across the UK, with some 1,500 students already registered through 70 colleges and schools. The IMI expects this to grow considerably as schools form partnerships with local colleges and specialist automotive training providers.

The scheme has attracted the personal backing of Tony Jardine, who is best known for his expert studio analysis of the Formula One World Championship, as well as receiving the support of Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP, secretary of state for education and skills. The Pre-Apprenticeship is also endorsed by a number of leading vehicle manufacturers.

As a former teacher, Tony Jardine knows the importance of qualifications and training in achieving ambitions. Said Tony:

"Not everyone is cut out to be a technician. The IMI’s pre-apprenticeship is a great way for 14-year olds to see if they have the ability to cut it in the modern motor industry, as well as the potential to move into motorsport. Many of those working in F1, as well as in my own rally team, started as apprentices and this is still the best way to get your foot in the door. This new scheme means capable and motivated young people can get involved earlier so they can start to map out a career, plus it will help employers feel confident about the investment of taking on apprentices."

Sarah Sillars, IMI chief executive, commented:

"It’s critical for the UK retail motor industry that we recruit capable and motivated individuals by engaging them at the point when they can make an informed career choice and providing them with a clear career path and opportunities to develop."