The National Traction Engine Trust


A meeting to discuss the obstacles that discourage businesses involved in historic vehicle restoration from taking on apprentices took place at Westminster on Tuesday 3 July with John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning. 

Geoff Smith and Tony Davies (vice president and director of FBHVC, respectively), together with the Rt Hon Greg Knight MP and Kelvin Hopkins MP (chairman and vice-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group), raised a number of issues relating to skill training, its funding and needs for the future. 

Research in 2011 showed that the historic vehicle movement in UK is worth over £4 billion annually, and supports 28,000 jobs.  There are some 3,800 businesses serving historic vehicle owners and most are small, involving fewer than ten people, yet many require specialist skills that have to be learned.  The cost of training apprentices in these traditional skills is disproportionate and often prohibitive.

The Minister understood these concerns and indicated there may be a case for government assistance. 

After the meeting, Geoff Smith said: “We offered to assist in identifying strategies to improve skill training and development, an offer which was welcomed.  We will be working with a representative from the Department of Business Innovation & Skills to explore possible ways to assist very small businesses that wish to pass on traditional skills to the next generation.”

15 Jul 2012