Workshops are experiencing chronic skills shortages created by a lack of investment in apprenticeships. Our sector needs to address these issues and quickly. Independent garages and bodyshops hold exciting career opportunities for young people, unfortunately most have no idea what really goes on behind those roller shutter doors.
Steve Shaw, Director of Ingenia Recruitment, said “Many companies have contacted us in regards to having concerns about their aging workforce, and not being able to find skilled staff to fill vacancies. If apprentices had been recruited 5-6 years ago, this wouldn’t be an issue today. Apprentices work alongside your current workforce to gain the knowledge/skills needed to become fully qualified, and of course end up doing the job he way you want them to. When aging workforce retire, there is no one to train a new recruit thus leaving not enough skilled people to go around. Don’t leave it too late. Remember, an empty ramp cannot sell hours for you.”
Attracting talent is every company’s responsibility and everyone needs to be proactive in communicating our message to young people. If any work is done in schools, it is mostly carried out by colleges and independent training providers, and tends to be focussed at those pupils who will leave in 1-2 years. Quite frankly this is too late, as by this age most young people will already have decided what they are going to do once the school doors close behind them.
Unfortunately for many years now, schools have not provided effective or, in some cases, any unbiased careers guidance, but do appear to have guided their learners into further education. Couple this with the thought ‘what do parents or people in general think of us as an industry?’ There are many occupations with a sexier image that ours.
So if we cannot rely on parents or teachers to promote retail motor trade careers, who can? The answer is you.
Businesses need to partner with local schools and look for opportunities to engage with pupils at an earlier age. This may be school talks, workshop visits, helping with school projects, etc.
Even better, spread the responsibility between 2 or 3 local garages to spread the workload.
NEMTA (North East Motor Trade Apprenticeships) is a website designed to promote the amazing opportunities in the retail motor industry to young people who are deciding what career would be right for them. Ingenia Recruitment, North East based retail motor industry recruitment specialists, launched the NEMTA website in 2017 to provide young people with information on the industry. We work closely with companies within the motor trade to ensure that they not only know the benefits of apprentices, but also know where to find them. Young people need to be aware of all the options available to them when they leave school therefore, NEMTA attend school talks, careers events and even arrange school workplace visits. We want to make sure that when these young people do think about a career path when they leave school, we have a fighting chance of being on their list.
Remember, apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers. If you are looking for someone who has some working experience, someone slightly older may be of benefit to you. Beware though, you will also find that better educated young people have higher expectations of a workplace. So when they Google you and find tyres and oil drums outside, don’t be surprised when they don’t turn up for an interview.
Unfortunately, there are many apprenticeship myths that go around which makes them look less attractive to young people. Some of these include:
- “Apprenticeships are for people who don’t do well at school.”
- “Apprenticeships are only for school leavers.”
- “Apprenticeship qualifications are worthless.”
- “Going to University will give you a better career.”
- “Apprenticeships are just for tradespeople.”
Collectively, we need to make the industry look more attractive, whether this be creating a clear route for career progression, improving training schemes, offering incentives, making technology the focus and showing that it is not the dirty job it used to be.
Do you know how much return on investment an apprentice can deliver? The IMI have a free online tool for automotive businesses who are looking to recruit an apprentice. The IMI’s ROI Calculator provides an easy way to assess how quickly different levels of apprentice can deliver a return on investment in their recruitment and training.