If you’ve always had a love of cars, then it’s quite possible that you’ve thought a career working with them, in one way or another.
While some in the motor trade would say car salespeople are born, not made, these days there’s an increasing availability of specialised qualifications in just about every subject under the sun. So, it’s no surprise that, if you’re still keen on a career in motor sales, there’s now a formal course for that too.
And with the advent of modern-style apprenticeships, those keen to join the motor industry now have access to a vast array of options across a whole host of trades. This is great news, because, in the past, many apprenticeships didn’t fit well into, what was, a rather rigid qualification structure.
One large manufacturer discusses how they’ve evolved beyond that by conducting much of their training and coursework remotely and online.
They claim: “The approach is revolutionising the way dealer principals view training because it challenges the conventional concept by embracing modern technology. Almost 90 percent of the training is done online and interactively through podcasts, webinars or other forms of e-learning that include video, drag and drop functions and multiple choice questions.”
Currently, sales, aftersales, parts and maintenance staff are benefiting from this new approach as allowing them to carry out formal training, wherever and whenever they choose.
So How Do These Apprenticeships Work?
Young entrants are seen as vital to the future growth of many industries. The motor trade is no different, and while there are opportunities in specialised manufacturing and engineering roles, apprentices are welcomed across all departments - from administration to technical, customer service to bodyshop.
As long as you’re keen to learn, there’s something to suit most people.
Reputable motor companies, such as Swansway Group, consolidate nationally-approved apprenticeship qualifications with training of their own, coupled with manufacturer courses; a great combination of training for bringing on staff with the right skills.
Though technology is constantly changing and evolving, people will always need to get from A to B and as most people prefer their own personal method of transport, cars and the people who make, sell and maintain them, will be needed for some time yet. The challenge is to gain the right skills for a role in the twenty-first century motor trade.
A motor trade-related apprenticeship gives you a foot in the door, providing a wealth of opportunities for anyone with the right drive and commitment.
According to Government guidelines, an apprentice working for a motor industry sector business in the UK should expect to:
●Work for at least 30 hours a week
●Receive a salary at minimum wage or above
●Gain most of the training they need in the workplace, learning from existing employees and established brands
●Supplement their practical, on-the-job training with relevant formal learning by attending a college, training centre or online training course once a week.
In doing so, apprentices get the best of both worlds - valuable experience and actual industry insight, as well as theoretical training, all of which is designed to benefit their future career.
Putting the Consumer First
An understanding of the customer, as well as the business, is vital in the automotive trade.
A number of courses run by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute aim to give staff working in motor dealerships an insight into consumer law and how it affects their business.
Aimed at employees working in servicing, maintenance, customer service and vehicle repairs, these are designed for businesses of all sizes, from sole traders to large motor retail groups.
Another umbrella body, which represents many of the franchised dealer groups, is the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). It sees training as essential and wants to ensure that the “right infrastructure and funding is in place for skills development...vital to the long-term success of the UK automotive industry.”
In February 2016, the SMMT along with the Automotive Industrial Partnership co-published a report, Employer Views of the Jobs and Skills Required For The UK Automotive Industry. One of its most startling findings was that there are at least 2,500 unfilled jobs which are considered ‘difficult to fill’ or ‘challenging’ across the motor sector in the UK.
Moving With The Times
Automotive Industrial Partnership is a privately-run body set up to oversee the provision of these apprenticeship schemes. By its own estimates, 50,000 suitably-qualified people will be needed to fill motor industry positions by 2020.
AIP’s Apprenticeship Matching Service details some of the apprenticeships that are available within the motor industry, ensuring that they meet all of the Government’s required standards and inviting employers to advertise their apprenticeship vacancies. By bringing on board more new recruits, AIP hopes to be able to provide a “portfolio of diverse career progression route maps to attract more graduates to the sector.”
On the sales side, a couple of privately-run training courses are offered. These examine the mechanics of selling, along with the an insight into the way buying decisions are made. Designed for new entrants into the business, these can be studied online, but are also available as full-time short courses.
Some of these courses are able to provide some of the knowledge required to perform important roles within the motor industry, but only actual on-site training can prepare a recruit for all that the job involves. This is why the two must work together - theoretical study alongside practical, hands on training.
Making a Difference
The range of apprenticeships, and qualifications linked into them, can appear rather daunting at first glance but don’t let that put you off; an apprenticeship qualification will improve your chances of a bright future!
Recently, new Prime Minister Theresa May announced the transfer of skills development protocols from the Department of Business and Innovation to the Department for Education. Whilst it remains to be seen how this will impact the automotive trade long term, education and training providers have reported this is a positive move, suggesting this is a positive time to be a young person investing in apprenticeship opportunities.
In addition, with the high level of demand for keen, appropriately skilled young people to enter the automotive trade, further training - be it in the classroom, online or on the job - will be needed.
The outlook from all this is only beneficial for young people looking to enter the automotive trade, as it has never been more refined to accept you and provide you the training you need to grow into a healthy career with plenty of opportunity for progression in an industry you love.
Whatever area of the motor trade you’re interested in, established, reputable companies such as Swansway Group can offer you a whole range of career paths to help you realise your full potential and find a fulfilling career. Call us now for more information on how you can join our team as an apprentice or take a look at our apprenticeship vacancies online.