Initial training has already begun at Lear’s Coventry operation, which saw more than 100 apprentices work on a variety of projects designed to improve the smooth running of production lines, improve health and safety, boost morale and improve efficiency. The programme is now being rolled out to Lear operatives and line managers at other sites across the country.

Adam Ford, continuous improvements manager at Lear, said: “We wanted to find ways of encouraging our operatives to come forward with suggestions on how to improve not only themselves but the business. That’s why we’ve developed this training programme with Gateshead College and Cidori, to give apprentices the skill set as well as the opportunity to make improvements that will have a significant impact. In the initial phase, we’ve seen a rise in productivity, a reduction in scrap and an increase in staff engagement.

“Already we can see the value in this; we’ve become leaner and more efficient by reducing downtime and improving quality on the production lines. That’s why we’ve decide to roll out the programme nationally with assistance from Gateshead College and Cidori, which have extensive experience in delivering national skills programmes. We can grow and develop our UK business while giving our staff the confidence and skills to progress in their careers.”

Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Lear on the roll-out of their national apprenticeship programme, which will see them cement their position as a market leader in the automotive supply chain.

“We already have expertise in delivering a number of national training programmes with employers and work closely with them to ensure the training meets their evolving business needs. This gives companies a better chance of hitting their growth targets by becoming more productive and competitive.”