The chairman of hybrid and electrical vehicle specialist Zytek Automotive said a £1.3 million from the Regional Growth Fund will provide a "revenue-neutral" answer to struggles against a skills shortage.
The Lichfield-based firm, which specialises in the design, development and supply of components for hybrid and electric vehicles, will invest in R&D and training after the funding boost was secured.
Chairman Bill Gibson said the investment in an apprenticeship scheme will mean the company no longer has to take up the valuable time of its engineers to find their future replacements.
“The problem in engineering over the last N number of years has been finding the right people,” he said.
“The right skills aren’t coming through and so you need apprenticeships but we weren’t prepared to do that if the people were only going to be sweeping the floor and making the tea.
“We have only got sufficient engineers to do the jobs that we are doing so with apprenticeships we would have had to take them off paying jobs.
“But with the funding from the Regional Growth Fund we can have a proper apprenticeship scheme.
“It is a totally revenue-neutral way to create the engineers of the future.”
Zytek, which is 50 per cent owned by Continental, joined materials technology company Ceram in receiving a visit from Business Secretary Vince Cable last week after Regional Growth fund wins.
The funding will also bring a jobs boost, as the company has already seen its 150-strong workforce grow by 12 and plans to take on 42 by the end of next year.
Chief financial officer Kerry Diamond said there would be a wide investment in training – including cold weather driving to test components in arctic conditions.
She said: “The training is for both the graduates coming through and the more mature staff.
“We have 150 people and we are going to put another 40 in here so we have got to brush up on our management and leadership skills.”
Meanwhile, the Business Secretary visited Ceram in Stoke-on-Trent last week after a conditional offer of £1.9 million from the RGF to create 25 direct jobs at the firm.
The investment also promises to supportup to 7,500 jobs in the wider supply chain, as part of a wider £5 million project to carry out industrial research into improved ceramic firing methodology.
Tony Kinsella, chief executive of Ceram, said: “The RGF funding we secured is focussed on innovation and Vince Cable’s visit to Ceram shows the Government is aware of this, which we welcome. I strongly believe that growth is the responsibility of Industry. We need to take the initiative, but we need schemes like the RGF to provide a platform and a springboard.”
The investment will help Ceram to build an experimental kiln to determine ways in which ceramics manufacturers can cut their energy consumption and help firms like Portmeirion Group compete on a global scale.