From education to employment


A car parts manufacturer with sites in Leicestershire and Derbyshire is reaching out to smaller organisations across the Midlands to help them with the cost of apprenticeship training and assessment. Plastic Omnium is a family-led independent group that operates globally and has 137 production plants in 25 countries. In the UK the company mainly produces external car parts for Jaguar Land Rover.

The business engaged North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) to recruit its own apprentices in engineering, business administration and lean manufacturing. As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives, Plastic Omnium made the decision to share resources from its Apprenticeship Levy fund to help smaller businesses that may struggle to afford the cost of training for their apprentices.

Six SMEs across the Midlands that work in engineering, construction and materials handling are set to benefit from the Levy transfer process which enables businesses with a turnover of £3M or more to pass on 25 per cent of the value of their Apprenticeship Levy for use by other organisations.

Richard Haswell, UK HR Director for Plastic Omnium said, “Since its introduction, we have used our Apprenticeship Levy funds to train apprentices and upskill team leaders and shift leaders across our business. We are delighted to be able to assist small businesses across the Midlands to build a talented workforce of their own using Apprenticeship Levy funding to help them develop new recruits or upskill existing employees.

“The college has been instrumental in helping us to identify the beneficiaries of this scheme which operate in a range of industry sectors in Leicestershire, Derbyshire and elsewhere in the Midlands. Training for the apprentices will be provided by NWSLC and costs will be covered under our Levy contribution. Plastic Omnium takes its corporate social responsibility very seriously and we feel strongly about supporting smaller local businesses in the community to succeed through skills development in these challenging economic times.”

Plastic Omnium chose NWSLC as its apprenticeship partner after becoming involved in the development of an award-winning training tool for the manufacturing sector. AutoLive, developed by North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) in partnership with Coventry University Enterprises – Interactive (CUEi) and supported by the Ufi VocTech Trust, brings game engine technology and VR simulations to manufacturing, and engineering workplaces, enabling fast and safe training to be delivered to new recruits. The solution was conceived to meet a need identified by the automotive sector.

AutoLive, an immersive technology solution designed to boost training for the manufacturing sector, was named as the winner in this year’s national Enginuity Skills Awards which recognise champions of skills development and innovators tackling challenges in engineering and manufacturing.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive at NWSLC said, “We welcome this move by Plastic Omnium to support smaller businesses by sharing their Levy funds. It is imperative that businesses do not lose the opportunity to spend the Levy on training an apprentice or upskilling their existing workforce. The Levy works on the basis of ‘use it or lose it’ and if it is not spent, that money is subsumed into general taxation, meaning that the workforce could miss out on opportunities to improve their careers and UK productivity targets will not be met.

“Anecdotally, we have heard Levy-payers say that they are not familiar with the process for spending their training budget. With the inside track as a Levy-payer ourselves, as well as being an apprenticeship training provider, NWSLC is in a great position to advise on the process, including showing levy-payers how to pass on their training funds to others.”

The college is keen to hear from other Levy-payers who have not yet used their funds and is happy to advise any business on the best way to upskill their team. Visit, call 0330 058 3000 or email [email protected].

Related Articles