IMI says invest in apprentices or risk failure 05 February 2014

The IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry) is urging the transport industry to overcome doubts over hiring apprentices, pointing to its latest study, which suggests they can deliver between 150% and 300% return on investment.

Steve Nash, the IMI's chief executive, says that the new research breaks the myth that apprenticeships cost firms money, and overwhelmingly demonstrates that there is a clear and significant financial return.

The IMI's return on investment claim is based on a £50 hourly charge out rate. The study finds that for every £1 invested, a workshop nets between £1.50 and £3.00.

Additionally, the research finds that apprentices who start with no experience typically generate profit within 18 to 24 months– much earlier than was previously assumed.

"Businesses must overcome their doubts about employing young people and invest in the future, if our industry is to succeed," insists Nash.

"There is a clear financial return to the business ... but the attitude and support of the employer to the apprentice is critically important," he continues.

"By giving a young person opportunities to apply their skills, they will ultimately become better and more productive technicians much earlier than commonly perceived."

Co-funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, the research is the result of a two year IMI project aimed at making the economic case for apprenticeships.

The study looked at a cross section of businesses from micro independents to franchise dealers across the UK automotive industry and involved 30 apprentices.

Apprentice productivity was found to follow an 'S'-curve, showing low-skilled, low-level growth in the first year, accelerating through the second year and delivering the same return as an experienced technician by the third or fourth year.

Brian Tinham

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The Institute of the Motor Industry

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