The facility is based at Verve Venues’ Wokefield Park, near Reading and will provide all technical and non-technical training for the BMW, Mini and motorcycle dealer networks and will also be available to the BMW Group’s employees throughout the UK.
The site has a 32 bay workshop, 22 training rooms and BMW, Mini and motorcycle showrooms. The 5,400 square metre two-storey facility also features an apprentice training area with its own residential accommodation and a separate clubhouse for the current intake of between 160-170 apprentices per year.
Jim O’Donnell, managing director of BMW (UK), said: “Recruitment and retention of skilled people are critical issues facing the retail automotive sector. In order to meet the growth in BMW and Mini UK sales volumes over the next three years we need to increase the number of people working in our dealerships from 11,000 today to 12,500 by 2010. By providing what we believe are the best training programmes, in the best facility in the industry in the UK, we are confident that we will address this issue.”
Skills Minister Phil Hope, said: “Engineering is one of this country’s most important skills sectors and this academy will make an important contribution to its productivity. This Government's skills strategy aims to make training more employer-led, focusing on the skills industry needs and giving employees a foundation to build their careers.”