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IMI will focus on five ‘big wins’ as the new Sector Skills Council

Achieving a major cultural change in how the retail motor industry thinks about skills will help it deliver significant business improvements, says the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), in its new role as the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the retail motor industry, having been granted the Government licence this week.

In setting out its stall to assist employers in generating demonstrable improvements in productivity and performance through a workforce which is better trained, qualified and recognised, the IMI will be focusing on five ‘big wins’, which are also aimed at enhancing the perception of the sector in the eyes of consumers and those seeking a career.

Activity will concentrate on the following areas:

14 –19 year old provision – Working with schools, colleges and training providers to encourage high academic achievers into the industry through automotive-specific vocational qualifications, including the launch of new 'engineering diplomas' in 2008.

Adult learning - Engaging employers to assist staff in improving basic skills, as well as opportunities to acquire new skills and knowledge, wherever possible through access to public funding, such as Train to Gain and Women in Work.

Careers – Making the sector a desirable career option by educating key audiences and implementing career paths. Working with employers and stakeholders to improve staff retention and apprenticeship completion rates respectively.

Management and leadership – Equipping managers with skills which will deliver improved bottom line performance through access to industry specific practical and economically valuable training.

Sector Qualification Strategy - The development and implementation of an employer led framework of qualifications and accredited training which is fit for purpose in the retail automotive sector.

Ensuring a clear distinction between the IMI’s work as an SSC and its subsidiary awarding business, IMI Awards Ltd, the IMI will continue to utilise the Automotive Skills brand in its work relating to future National Occupational Standards, workforce development, labour market intelligence research and quality improvement.
In order to deliver its objectives effectively, the IMI is recruiting a number of new staff. Most recently appointed is National Manager for Scotland, Sandy Burgess, current President of the Scottish Motor Trade Association, who is based at its offices in Edinburgh. Overseeing the IMI group’s activity is a new Executive Board, headed by Steve Nash, formerly IMI Chairman of Council.

Commenting on the IMI’s status as a Sector Skills Council, Sarah Sillars, Chief Executive, IMI group of companies, said:
“Further to the industry's successful collaboration on the Automotive Technician Accreditation scheme, there is now a tremendous opportunity to build on this and make a real difference to the whole sector by working with employers and stakeholders to raise the bar in terms of holistic skills, which ultimately will give a return to their businesses. Achieving a cultural change in the way we all think about skills will be challenging but the rewards will be evident in time."

Members of the IMI’s Executive Board are:
Martin Austin, Managing Director, Corby Motor Group
Martin Betts, co-Chairman, Fleet Auction Group and Chairman, Marcol
Gerry Braddock, Field Executive, VBRA
Sue Brownson, Managing Director. Bluebell BMW
Garry Brumfitt, Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Harley-Davidson Europe
Edward Clark, Chairman, IMI Awards Ltd
Chris Jeffries, Chairman, Automotive Distributors 
Marc Matthew, Chairman, Lifestyle Europe
Steve Nash, Aftersales Director, BMW Group UK
John Rowse, National Officer, Transport and General Workers’ Union
Sarah Sillars, Chief Executive, IMI group of companies
Allan Tyrer, Company Secretary and Finance Director, IMI group of companies


For further information please contact Stuart Brooks, IMI Head of PR and Public Affairs
Tel: 01992 511521

Note to Editors:

The IMI is the professional association for individuals working in the retail motor industry and the Sector Skills Council for the automotive sector, part of the Skills for Business network. It is also the governing body for the Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) scheme, which has some 6,000 accredited technicians.

The Skills Pledge is a company’s voluntary commitment to support its employees in developing their basic skills where required, which could lead to a national qualification. The purpose is to ensure that all staff are skilled, competent and able to make a full contribution to the business.

Employers that make a commitment to the Skills Pledge will have access to a Skills Broker, who can assess the company’s training needs and help the employer produce an action plan that will set out contributions from the state, the employer and the individual. Government funding is available through the ‘Train to Gain’ initiative, to enable businesses to provide staff with the opportunity to acquire a national Level 2 qualification (equivalent to 5 GCSEs).

For more information on the Skills Pledge, please visit www.traintogain.gov.uk or call 0800 015 5545.

The UK retail motor industry:

• Has a turnover of more than £70 billion per year
• Employs more than 600,000 people
• Is responsible for some 2% of GDP

Skills for Business is the UK-wide network of 25 Sector Skills Councils funded and supported by the Sector Skills Development Agency. Independent and employer-led, they are uniquely placed to drive forward skills development and productivity throughout the UK. Through the network, employers are using their influence with education suppliers, such as universities, colleges and their funders, to ensure their needs are met.

As the UK's leading source of labour market intelligence and insight, the Skills for Business network is an authority on skills issues, helping to shape public policy and practice. Each Sector Skills Council is licensed by the governments of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and receives funding from both public and private sources