An apprenticeship programme offering training opportunities to those currently working within the automotive industry has been relaunched.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Charitable Trust Fund has re-launched the SMMT Apprentice Support Programme, which earmarks £100,000 to cover all or part of the salaries of apprentices employed by small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) within the UK automotive industry.

The programme will focus on those whose positions are at risk of redundancy due to COVID-19 related business pressures.

‘The UK automotive industry is built on decades of craftsmanship, engineering excellence and innovation delivered by a highly skilled workforce – and its long-term recovery and growth will depend on retaining and developing this skills base,’ said SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes.

‘That’s why it’s so important that we do everything possible to ensure that we don’t let today’s challenges hinder our long-term aspirations. Today’s apprentices are tomorrow’s leaders, and this scheme will help protect their jobs now so that they can help drive our future success.’

Gareth Jones, Chairman of the SMMT Charitable Trust Fund, commented: ‘As a former technical apprentice myself I can only imagine the devastating impact of losing your apprenticeship, particularly if you are close to completing your qualification. This timely and much needed initiative from the STCF will provide critical and well targeted support to ensure we retain some fantastic talent and potential in our industry.’

The scheme is open to SMMT member companies and requires successful applicants to make a contribution towards the full £14,000 apprentice salary as business needs permit, in order to unlock a stipend as made available by the SMMT Charitable Trust Fund.