The government has made £65m available through the Train to Gain skills service for car firms to prepare their workforces to prosper when the economy recovers.
An agreement between science and technology sector skills council Semta and the government is designed to meet employer needs and beat skills shortages that are estimated to cost England £700m a year in lost productivity.
The offer will allow car and component makers to send staff on training courses, including lenghthy qualifications and individual modules. About 30% of Train to Gain funding for Level 2 and 3 skills is now available to those who hold GCSEs or A-levels but require more specific qualifications at those levels.
Business secretary Peter Mandelson said: “The automotive sector is a vital part of the UK’s economy with more than 190,000 people employed directly in manufacturing vehicles and components.
“We need to ensure that our workers have the world class skills to help UK-based companies be globally competitive. As part of the government’s commitment to manufacturing, we are determined to maintain the UK as a location of choice for manufacturers, both large and small.”