We want to ensure the region’s automotive businesses remain competitive and are ready to adopt emerging new technologies and meet future needs for electrification with the chance to upskill and reskill staff to help attract investment.
What are we doing
To support this ambition, the West Midlands Combined Authority launched its Automotive Skills Plan that highlights the following priority areas:
- Creating a coherent and seamless automotive skills capacity and capability that meets the needs of employers
- Developing capacity and capability to meeting future skills requirements
- Growing Automotive Apprenticeships in the West Midlands
An employer-led Automotive Skills Taskforce has been created to support the delivery of the plan.
Alongside the plan, a £3m training fund has been set up to boost skills.
What people have said about the skills plan
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The automotive industry is incredibly important to the West Midlands, and the businesses working here employ 28% of the UK’s overall automotive sector. We are, as Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) proved with its Castle Bromwich commitment, the country’s premier car manufacturing region.
“We have done, and will continue to do, all we can to support the major players like JLR, but the vast majority of those employed in our automotive industry work within the supply chain which is where we want to focus our support with this latest funding. This £3m fund will act as a catalyst to help future-proof thousands of jobs in the automotive sector, helping employees gain the skills needed to keep the West Midlands at the forefront of the global automotive industry.”
Alan Yee, engineering director at Contechs automotive engineering firm, said: “From the beginning of education in primary school all the way to university, we are not good at preparing the population for requirements of engineering careers in the modern automotive industry, for much of what was taught in the 1970s right through to the last decade on this subject is totally out of date now.”
The Automotive Skills Plan will help support the industry to engage with this new emerging technology – including automated, connected and electric vehicles and the digitisation of manufacturing.
Ron Lee – Chair
Ron Lee worked for Jaguar Land Rover during a 35-year career in the sector. He is now heading up the WMCA’s Automotive Skills Taskforce, which is providing strategic leadership across the region to tackle the skills challenges facing the industry.
After a successful career in product innovation and launch for numerous original equipment manufacturers and with many suppliers, Mr Lee now advises companies on the strategy, key decisions, technical structures and methods to manufacture new products.