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A rewarding experience

Many people see work experience as just another way to get cheap labour, but the process can be beneficial to all involved.

Candidates can range in experience from complete novices in the industry to those that have almost finished a recognized qualification, bringing fresh skills with them. No matter what, a person from outside your immediate circle of employees may offer new insights and perspectives, and can also take on tasks that have been left on the back burner for a while.

“At a time when the talent pool is shrinking so fast it pays for employers to get involved in work experience,” says Dominic Luddy, sector careers manager at the Automotive Skills Council.

“It is also worth noting that businesses should also look out for female candidates, as otherwise they are halving the new talent opportunities out there.”

He says it also provides the business with links to local colleges and universities. These could offer you excellent marketing and PR opportunities, as well as giving your own staff further scope for development.

Sue Brownson, managing director at Bluebell BMW/Mini, says she takes on about eight work experience students over the school holidays. “We have those interested in sales, parts work or being a technician. It gives our business recognition in the community and develops our links with schools.”

At a time when the average age of automotive technicians is rising, it is important for the industry to attract interest from the young.

“Often younger people and their parents will have a very different idea of the industry,” explains Luddy.

“By doing work experience, their eyes will be opened to the size and scale of the operations and also to the skills needed.”

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