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Guest Opinion: Andy Moore

Andy Moore, director of Carter & Carter-owned Emtec, the automotive training provider, warns that the industry is likely to suffer the most serious skills shortage in its history within a few years unless drastic action is taken. Fewer school leavers appear to be attracted to a career in the industry and increasing numbers of skilled staff are also abandoning it. Urgent steps must be taken to attract more people and to find ways of increasing retention levels.

Many misconceptions exist about what it is like to work in today's motor industry and education is key to overcoming these. Speaking to young people while they are still at school as well as their parents is important so that they are made aware of the career opportunities that exist both as service technicians but also on the body and paint, parts and customer service side.

Equally important is targeting organisations like teenage support group Connexions, careers offices and schools. In a bid to build awareness and increase the recruitment of apprentices, Emtec has expanded its specialist recruitment team who handle the recruitment and selection process of apprentices for a large number of manufacturers' to reach more people.

Carmakers recognise they have a role to play in boosting the number of people coming into the industry as well as in increasing retention and are heavily investing in training for apprentices and for adult learners. This strategy of 'growing its own' is vital to address the skills shortage and to reach high levels of competency so that we continue to raise industry standards.

Investment in training has a direct effect on the bottom line profits for dealerships and bodyshops, by enabling staff to be more productive. Similarly ongoing training ensures staff keep up to date on new products and processes as well as new vehicle technology and helps boost retention.

New initiatives such as e-learning combined with the more traditional training and development courses ensure a cost effective solution as does the outsourcing of the training to companies like Emtec. We can ensure that training meets the highest standards and takes account of new developments.

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