16 March, 2009
The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has confirmed further training funding to help support the region's important automotive sector during the difficult economic conditions.
The Northwest auto sector is the second largest in the UK and in line with the global automotive sector it is facing another tough year ahead. The NWDA is working in partnership with Northwest Automotive Alliance and other regional partners to help protect the auto expertise we have in the region.
Existing automotive programmes are being flexed to adapt to the economic conditions and needs of the auto sector, and new support has been approved and brought forward to help in the short and medium term.
The NWDA has approved £1.5 million of new funding for training (in 2009) to extend the existing Coaching and Leadership Solutions Project and help secure the long term future of automotive manufacturing in the Northwest.
The programme helps with the retention and development of skills and supports the development of key higher level skills for individuals within the auto business. It also helps to implement product and process innovations or change management needed to ensure short term business survival and position the companies for growth once the economy starts to recover.
This programme is specifically intended to complement existing support for training which is available through Train to Gain and accessible via Business Link Northwest.
The NWDA funding will be shared by:
- Jaguar / Land Rover
- Leyland Trucks
- Supply chain companies
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, said: “The government has put in place a multi-billion pound support package for the automotive industry across the UK, which will help vehicle manufacturers, particularly in the long term. However, there is still a need for help with immediate issues and the NWDA is doing what it can to help with these short and medium term challenges. The Automotive sector in the region is the second largest in the UK, supporting some 43,000 jobs and it is vital to the future growth of our economy. We must do all we can to support it now.”
This training fund complements existing NWDA initiatives for the automotive sector:
• General Motors (Vauxhall) is already benefiting from the £8.7 million NWDA grant approved in 2008 for their Workforce Development Programme (2008-2013). This training funding will help to achieve a step change in plant performance and help secure future production models.
• The NWDA automotive supply chain development programme started in January 2008 and will run until March 2012.
The main aim of the £3.3 million programme (£1.5 million NWDA, £1.8 m illionprivate sector) is to strengthen the Northwest automotive sector by improving the competitiveness of OEM & component manufacture companies, and their suppliers through supply chain collaborative initiatives and best practice transfer networks.
In the long term, the Agency is helping the companies to access funding for collaborative R&D, which will help them to introduce low carbon technologies such as cleaner engines, lighter vehicles, hybrids and electric vehicles.
In addition the Agency has supported the successful application by Land Rover for a £27 miliion Grant for Business Investment (GBI) direct from BERR. The Grant has been offered to Land Rover for the production of an all-new Range Rover at Halewood Operations. This offer of funding has been welcomed by the Company and the final decision on the go-ahead of the programme will be made later this year.