National Shortage of Skilled Sculptors

Breaking the Mould: Nissan and West Thames College Launch Clay Modelling Apprenticeship

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On 1 May the Business Secretary Vince Cable helped Nissan and West Thames College launch an innovative apprenticeship scheme which will recruit and train the people who will literally shape the future of car design.

On a visit to Nissan’s European design centre in Paddington, London, Dr Cable joined Andy Palmer, Nissan Executive Vice President, in launching the company’s Clay Modelling Apprenticeship Programme – an innovative scheme designed to address a national shortage in skilled sculptors who give form to the vision of car designers.

While at Nissan, Dr Cable learned first-hand how a national shortage of skilled clay modellers has threatened to undermine the continuing success of Britain’s thriving car design sector. But he also heard how the innovative Clay Modelling Apprenticeship intends to tackle the issue head on.

Dr Cable also met the first three apprentices, Joanna Bond, Robert Bennett and Sanny Kumar, who were selected from more than 900 applicants after undergoing a rigorous boot-camp style recruitment process and are now training in the engineering workshops at Feltham Skills centre, preparing for what promises to be a rewarding career at the cutting edge of new car development.

Marjorie Semple, Principal of West Thames College said: “We are really excited to be working in partnership with Nissan on this amazing project. This fills a gap in the industry and opens up fantastic opportunities for young people who want to pursue a career in this sector.” 

Apprentice Joanna Bond said: “Clay modelling is a very specialist role and not a job you can just walk into. This Apprenticeship is giving me the opportunity to get my qualifications and go straight into work. It’s giving me all the skills I need to fulfil the role, plus lots more.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Our ambition is that the UK should have a world-class skills base so businesses can compete in a global market. We have almost doubled the number of apprenticeship starts since 2010 to over one million. We have seen strong growth in sectors that are vital to rebalancing our economy, like engineering.

“Now we’re putting employers, like Nissan, in the driving seat through the Employer Ownership Pilot. Companies can address their business needs by designing their own apprenticeships, like this clay modelling scheme which will keep us at the forefront of car design globally.”

May 8, 2013

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