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Skills body to seek out top quality workforce

Automotive Skills, the new Government-backed training organisation, has set itself tough challenges to attract top quality staff, including graduates and women, to the sector and close the widening employment gap.

The retail motor industry skills council, which was awarded its licence this month, intends to raise the level of skills and address the current shortfall in the number of people joining the industry.

It is launched at an apposite time. The number of new apprentices is falling – school leavers do not currently view the car retail and repair business as a profession of choice – and the industry has a rapidly ageing workforce, with many senior technicians approaching retirement.

With consumers expecting higher standards of service and customer care, retailers need to be able to attract high calibre staff to the sector. “As an industry we can ensure excellence by attracting the highest calibre of recruits, in particular more graduates and women into the sector,” says Automotive Skills chairman Peter Johnson, the Inchcape chief executive. The organisation expects to see a growth in the number of job opportunities in the industry. It says more than 25% of employers are forecasting more positions in sales and car maintenance.

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