Today, 160,000 people work in car manufacturing out of around 799,000 in the car industry, across 30 manufacturers building more than 70 models of car.
“Already the Automotive Council has identified a shortfall of 5000 gaps in the industry, and that gap is set to grow unless we can address the areas where we need the skills,” said SMMT president Mike Hawes.
“We need to attract talent to the industry and that is something the car makers, the government and we are focusing on.”
In particular, there is a renewed focus on apprenticeships, something the car industry has a long track record in providing successfully.
Hawes noted the progress being made with the Automotive Apprentice Matching Scheme, which aims to highlight opportunities in the supply chain for applicants who aren’t successful in getting on to major OEM schemes.
“Many people have the right skills, but the huge demand for places on manufacturer schemes mean other apprentice schemes get overlooked - this should help highlight the diversity of opportunities out there,” he said.
Hawes also highlighted ongoing investment into R&D by car manufacturers, which totalled £2.4bn last year as a sign that growth would continue.
In particular, he noted the near £280m of investment announced in new production facilities in Wales, led by Aston Martin, TVR and Toyota and with the likely creation of 1000 new jobs. Today, 18,000 people work in the car industry in Wales, working for around 150 automotive component and system companies.
However Hawes cautioned that there was still uncertainty in markets around the world, with Europe and USA leading increased demand, but uncertainty still surrounding the once booming Chinese and Russian markets.
He also sounded a note of caution around the referendum on whether Britain should stay in Europe: “We have enjoyed a period of significant investment by global car companies in the UK in recent times, but anything that causes uncertainty is cause for concern in the medium to long-term,” he said. “Instability doesn’t encourage investment.”