Investing in training and development

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Businesses in the automotive sector are utilising a range of techniques to help them tackle the recruitment challenges in the industry and a shortage of skills. Unipres, the Japanese-owned component maker based in Sunderland, recently finalised their root and branch strategy for securing skills in the future. They have been developing the plan since last year, examining the skills of the current workforce and what they will need in the future to continue to meet demand and adapt to changes in the market.

The foundation of Unipres’ approach is accelerated training and development. Their current 1,100 strong workforce in Sunderland includes a number of employees with twenty plus years of experience. This wealth of talent needs to be passed on to future generations to ensure they don’t lose it when staff reach retirement age. This makes the apprenticeship scheme a particularly attractive one and has seen them increase the number of apprentices they take on from 10 to 20.

Alongside this they have engaged with local schools and universities with a number of schemes designed to encourage young people to consider exploring a career in engineering and the automotive sector. The Industrial Cadets scheme is just one of these. It targets pupils between 11 and 19 and gives them the chance to earn recognised industrial qualifications. The work with universities is designed to attract graduates and encourage them to choose the sector after they leave university.

Another move Unipres has made is to become an accredited training centre. This will allow them to train employees more effective as well as create their own qualifications for their staff and people from the local community. Ultimately they plan to establish a training centre on the Sunderland site where people will be able to go to study, build their knowledge and acquire new skills, helping them to move on to exciting and rewarding motor industry jobs.

Unipres’ approach involves a big investment in their current workforce as well as moves to attract new talent in the future. It is hoped that the plan will improve their competitiveness and help them to adjust to the challenges of automotive recruitment.