Governments boost for classic skills gap
New heritage apprentices for classic cars, as aviation and steam
A generation of restoration know-how will be saved by a new Governmentbacked apprenticeship scheme.
The Department for Education and the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) have announced a ground-breaking Heritage Engineering Apprenticeship under new Government guidelines that came into force in April.
The biggest change in FBHVC apprenticeships is that Government funding is no longer restricted to 16-18 year olds, and will be open to anyone of any age. This new scheme will also be for heritage transportation such as aviation and steam, and not just classic cars. The FBHVC reckons that 1000 new classic apprentices are needed over the next five years to replace retiring specialists.
FBHVC trade and skills director, Karl Carter, says: ‘In the initial stages the emphasis will be on fundamental engineering skills which will be applied throughout the rest of the course. In the latter stages students will be able to adopt a range of specialisms.
‘For the first time, we have been able to broaden the course to embrace other transportation sectors such as steam and aviation and this will help to recruit sufficient students for each course to make them financially viable.’
FBHVC Communications director Geoff Lancaster, adds: ‘Jaguar Land Rover is the lead employer, which is great news. This isn’t an instant thing though – it’s more an attractive proposition for apprentices. It’s not just for 16-18 year olds, in fact, it now doesn’t matter how old you are.
‘It will now have a platform to launch block release courses. It’s become apparent that people are not able to do day release because of geographical circumstances. Block releases allow people to complete intensive courses, several times a year.
‘It also means that institutes can teach block release, which in turn should bring in greater numbers of students from further afield.’
Sir Greg Knight MP, chair of the AllParty Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group adds: ‘This will create skilled jobs for young people and shows that the Government recognises the importance of the £5.5 billion historic vehicle industry.’
Apprentices at Bicester Heritage will now be able to stay on site and study in block sessions, for weeks at a time.