Understanding the Marketplace UPDATE REPORT

The update of this report documents the recent patterns of change in the automotive sector, identifies the implications for the EU automotive apprenticeship marketplace, highlights a number of innovative ways in which the challenges facing the apprenticeship marketplace have been tackled and sets out practical suggestions moving forward.

The report has been produced as one of the outcomes of the DRIVES Project, an EU-wide and funded project to develop resources and reports for the automotive sector.

To read the full report, please click here.


Executive Summary

Since the publication of the DRIVES ‘Understanding the Marketplace’ Report in 2020 the global and EU automotive sector have experienced a period of major upheaval and restructuring. While changes driven by technology development have continued, a number of other factors have also helped to reshape the sector including the impact of COVID 19, the associated recession across Europe and the different policy responses to this, together with other factors including BREXIT.

These factors have impacted on working practices and helped drive changes in skill requirements, which in turn have major implications for apprenticeships supporting the sector. 


Recent Developments and Economic Context

• The automotive industry remains crucial for Europe’s prosperity providing 13.8 million direct and indirect jobs in
  Europe and represents 6.1% of total EU employment.
• However, COVID-19 has significantly impacted on both automotive sector demand and output during 2020 and the
  early part of 2021. The pandemic has also been linked to significant restructuring of the automotive industry.
• While pre-COVID longer term drivers of skills change still remain, the pandemic and associated restructuring of the
  industry have resulted in both immediate and longer termshifts in skill requirements.
• These changes have significant implications for the design and implementation of apprenticeships. 
• There have also been a number of recent announcements at a European and international level which will have
  implications for automotive apprenticeships including the launch of the Automotive Pact for Skills with the
  ambition to upskill 5% of the EU automotive workforce each year.
• The implications of this restructuring together with recent announcements for the European automotive
  apprenticeship marketplace are explored in the Report.  


Innovative Practise

Given the scale of industry restructuring, pace of skills changes and the global nature of the automotive sector, there are substantial challenges being faced when designing, developing and implementing apprenticeships in the present climate. However, there are many examples of innovative practice that employers, training providers and other apprenticeship stakeholders can learn from that are highlighted in this section.

The Automotive Apprenticeship Marketplace UPDATE report explores this innovative practice under 12 key themes, these being:

• Theme 1: Meeting the challenges of rapidly changing skills
• Theme 2: Responding to Industry 4.0
• Theme 3: Ensuring clear progression to higher levels of training or jobs
• Theme 4: Upskilling and Reskilling
• Theme 5: Understanding the EU automotive apprenticeship offer
• Theme 6: Encouraging SME involvement in apprenticeships
• Theme 7: Increasing international labour mobility
• Theme 8: Responding to COVID 19
• Theme 9: Addressing diversity and image
• Theme 10: Maximising available funding
• Theme 11: Involving apprentices
• Theme 12: The need for close dialogue between employers, providers and other stakeholders



The Automotive Apprenticeship Marketplace UPDATE Report summarises a number of practical suggestions for improving the current European apprenticeship marketplace serving the automotive sector and next steps in relation to the DRIVES Project to help achieve these actions.

Five main types of recommendations are set out relating to: 

• Sustaining DRIVES initiatives after DRIVES funding ceases; 
• Identification and publicising of further examples of innovative practice;
• Improvements to skills Intelligence;
• Measures to improve flexibility of apprenticeships as a tool for upskilling/reskilling; and
• Other practical recommendations.

These recommendations have been developed taking into account funding for the DRIVES Project will cease at the end of March 2022 and in the light of recent major developments across the automotive ecosystem. These include the recently announced Automotive Pact for Skills, the associated Automotive Skills Alliance (ASA) and a number of key EU wide initiatives.

Specific recommendations relating to the potential future role of the Automotive Skills Alliance (ASA) in taking forward these recommendations are also set out.


To read the full report, please click here.

The EC support for the production of this publication does not constitute endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.