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Home > News > December 2006 > 12 December 2006

Automotive Academy to join forces with new skills body

Secretary of state for trade and industry Alistair Darling has announced that the skills and training expertise of the Automotive Academy are to be applied across the whole of manufacturing.

The Automotive Academy, set up in 2003 by the DTI and the industry, is to become part of the Government's new National Manufacturing Skills Academy, which will be unveiled next month.

Alistair Darling said: "Skills are key to Britain winning in the global economy. The Automotive Academy is a blue-print for what we want to see across the whole of manufacturing, with higher skills bringing more efficient businesses. We are backing that.

"More than 170 companies across the industry have benefited already. The knowledge and skills the Academy has brought to them are making a difference, helping the UK car industry meet the twin global challenges of competition and climate change."

Commenting on the outlook of the wider industry he said: "The UK car industry is strong. The 1.6m vehicles produced last year is nearly twice the number of the early 1980s. Over 200,000 people are employed in it. This is an excellent place to make cars. We have stable economic conditions and highly skilled workers.

"Seven of the top ten vehicle makers in the world, 19 of the top 20 component makers have bases here. In the last few weeks alone there have been new models from BMW, Nissan and Toyota. This commitment is good for jobs and good for our economy.

"The Automotive Academy has been a success story since we set it up in 2003. It has helped companies to adapt to change, to tackle the challenges of global competition and to reduce pollution.

"The same service will still be on offer from the new Skills Academy. From January, the rest of manufacturing will start to benefit from the success of programmes pioneered in the car industry."

Joe Greenwell, chairman of the Automotive Academy board said: "The Academy has made significant and measurable improvements to the effectiveness of the curriculum, and to training and assessment standards in our sector. I look forward to seeing the National Manufacturing Skills Academy extending this quality of delivery across the manufacturing base."

The National Manufacturing Skills Academy is one of the first four industry skills academies announced by the Government last month.

Alistair Darling was speaking last week at the 4th annual lecture of the Automotive Academy, which was given this year in London by Fujio Cho, chairman of the Board of Toyota. Toyota announced last week that its new Auris model would be built in the UK, at Burnaston in Derbyshire, with engines from Deeside, North Wales.

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