As the automotive industry becomes increasingly high-tech and automated, it's easy to forget that there's still a small niche of hand-crafted cars that require workers with real skill to create them, like those at Rolls-Royce. To keep the tradition going, Rolls-Royce is constantly training new apprentices, and this year, nine were offered permanent employment with the company.

With skills in paint, wood, leather, assembly or maintenance, the nine approved apprentices are the first to complete the new apprenticeship program. To get this far, all of them had to successfully complete a three-year stint at the company's head office and manufacturing plant in Goodwood in the U.K.

"We are delighted to announce the employment of our first completing apprentices and we congratulate them on their new roles with the company. Ghost is likely to continue to create employment opportunities over the next few years and new apprentices joining the company will be ideally positioned to take advantage of this," said Tom Purves, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

To keep the influx of apprentices going, Rolls-Royce is now inducting a new class of apprentices as well. The program is open to people aged 16-24, and provides training and qualifications to enable the students to produce truly world-class automobiles. While it doesn't appear to be a requirement, it seems to help admission if the applicant has an odd sense of hair style.

The new Ghost is expected to double Rolls-Royce's sales, and it will pose a challenge for production beyond the sheer volume of the car as it's also expected to get a hybrid variant in the near future. For more on the 2010 Rolls Royce Ghost, read our preview.

[Rolls Royce]