The automotive industry has today launched Discover Automotive Retail, a scheme that will see young people get the chance to experience the diverse variety of careers and apprenticeships available in the UK's £146* billion a year automotive retail sector. The industry initiative will go live in November and has been co-ordinated by industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in partnership with the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) and the industry's Sector Skills Council - the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).
Critical to the UK economy, automotive retail generates around 5% of total UK turnover. The sector spans a comprehensive range of attractive and challenging careers - from vehicle technician and customer services to sales and marketing - dealing with an enormously broad offering of vehicles and technologies.
Building on the success of UK automotive's original pilot and continued involvement in government's See Inside Manufacturing initiative, as well as the IMI's schools partnership programme, Headlight, Discover Automotive Retail will deliver a packed programme of inspiring and insightful hands-on events to teachers and young people.
"Automotive retail offers a huge variety of exciting and rewarding career choices with some of the world's biggest and best known brands across sales, servicing and aftersales operations," said SMMT Chief Executive, Paul Everitt. "The franchised dealer network provides continuous training, long-term career development prospects and the opportunity to work with cutting-edge products."
"This is an excellent opportunity for the retail motor sector to showcase the clear opportunities available to young people in the sector," said RMI Director, Sue Robinson. "The retail motor industry offers a wide range of careers across a number of disciplines including technical, sales, finance and administration."
"We need to attract bright, young and enthusiastic people if we are to maintain the employment and skills levels needed to keep the sector competitive. For many, because of the poor public perception of the industry, the automotive retail sector is not seen as a first choice career option," said IMI Executive Chair, Sarah Sillars. "This initiative aims to engage with young people, careers advisors and influencers, to help them understand the range of exciting career prospects in the retail automotive industry."
Each year the automotive industry takes on around 12,000 retail apprentices and employs more than 700,000 people through retail and aftermarket, design, engineering, manufacturing, and the supply chain.
Retail groups will open up their dealer networks and training academies during November, providing young people with the opportunity to gain insight to the breadth of careers available and will receive invaluable direct contact with current apprentices and employees.
The capability, expertise and innovation in the UK retail sector needs no explanation, last month's new car registrations figures revealed the largest percentage rise in sales for 23 months driven by almost 15% growth in private demand, while van and truck sales also remained buoyant, up 10% on May last year.