I think we all know that recruiting and retaining talent has become increasingly challenging over the last year. With this in mind, it was good to see dealers promoting the successes and opportunities for apprentices across the country during National Apprenticeship Week, February 7th – 13th.

While I know there are apprentice roles beyond the more traditional areas referenced in trade media of trainee service advisers, apprentice technicians and parts advisers; these were the ones that were highlighted most commonly. However, as we all know, motor retailing is an increasingly omnichannel environment. There are opportunities for people from all walks of life to take on roles across motor retailing, including the supplier chains.

In today's increasingly digitally and socially engaged marketplace, the role and scope of apprenticeship opportunities for candidates and employers are growing ever wider. While the traditional concept of apprenticeship opportunities may have been centred upon a person, often male, learning a trade under the guidance of a time-served expert. The model is changing rapidly now and today, we see apprenticeships providing viable career routes to university education.

The apprentice landscape is changing by age, gender, type of industry and opportunities. The shift can play an important role not just in bridging skills gaps but by helping to enhance the diversity and inclusiveness of our industry.

The Aldermore Group, of which MotoNovo Finance is a core constituent, is on a mission to promote the value and opportunities afforded by apprenticeships. Currently, we offer 36 different development pathways, categorised into three areas:

  • Core Apprenticeships
  • Professional Apprenticeships
  • Technical Apprenticeship

The net result is that groupwide, we have sixty apprentices studying professional qualifications that include; Data Analytics, Leadership, Software Development, Compliance & Risk, Customer Service, Business Administration, HR, Accountancy and Digital Marketing. Skills that, to many, may be very different to those connected with perceived apprentice activities. Many of these types of roles will be found in today's dealer groups.

  • 51% of apprentices reach a management position within the first 5 years or less.
  • 1 in 5 companies have a former apprentice at board level
  • 71% of apprentices remain with the same employer on completion of their qualification.
  • 90% of apprentices stay in work post-apprenticeship

Once apprentices are qualified;

  • 68% of employers recorded improvements in productivity
  • 72% reported increased product/service quality
  • 87% saw a rise in employee morale

In sharing my thoughts on developing tomorrow's talent, I started consciously by focusing upon the great work in developing apprentices already underway by many motor retailers. I hope to have added in this article the opportunity across our industry to broaden the span of apprentice roles.

While in some quarters, there may have been a belief that apprenticeships were an inferior option compared to going to university, this need not be true. In pretty much every area of business, creating meaningful apprentice roles can help open the doors to both young people and older adults to create fulfilling, boundaryless careers and enhance perceptions of our industry.

Karl Werner, Managing Director

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