Body-in-white supplier Stadco says it is “eagerly awaiting” further announcements from the UK government concerning potential expansion of apprenticeship schemes.

The British supplier is embarking on its own programme of apprentice hiring this year, with an eventual six trainees to benefit from the skills teaching.

“In the last 12 months there has been absolutely the right language coming out of government,” Stadco managing director Dermot Sterne told just-auto at the official opening of the supplier’s Telford site in the UK Midlands.

“Government is planning further announcements as I understand it about apprenticeships and we eagerly await them. The most important [thing] is skills development – it may not help my bottom line next year but it definitely will in five year’s time.”

The Stadco chief bemoaned what he described as the “lack of communication” to young people in particular that a career in manufacturing represented a real alternative to supposedly more attractive employment in the service sector, for example.

Sterne said government had a “real obligation” to ensure it stressed the attractiveness of manufacturing as the UK attempts to redirect its economy away from a focus on the financial sector.

“You want to have people adding value, not simply providing services,” he said. “Government obviously has a difficult job to balance the budget, but that is what they are employed for.”

Despite the Stadco managing director’s emphasis on political support for the British manufacturing sector, he insisted the body-in-white supplier would go ahead with its apprenticeship scheme regardless.

Sterne confirmed apprentices would be guaranteed employment at the end of their training and maintained the figure of six hirings represented a fair chunk of the company’s engineering core.

“If you think of the engineering staff in our business, I would say there are probably one hundred,” he said.

“So four [rising to six] represents quite a bit of investment in our central engineering headcount. “This year is the start of the accelerated scheme to get highly-skilled people into our business.”