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New skills strategy consultation

Automotive Skills has embarked on a sector qualifications strategy (SQS) to help the motor retail industry improve skill levels and performance.

The organisation, now a division of the Institute of the Motor Industry, will consult dealers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to draft and finalise an employer-led SQS.

It will address key issues such as improvements in technological, customer-facing and management skills, opportunities for career progression and staff turnover.

Existing qualifications have not hit the mark in terms of equipping employees with the required skills and competence. Too few employers were aware or engaged in the process, while several were openly critical of the qualifications set up by Automotive Skills.

A reform of the whole vocational landscape aims to align education and training more closely with industry, so that future Government-funded qualifications are more desirable, relevant and flexible.

Automotive Skills said this could involve a revamp of apprenticeships and the inclusion of sector-specific accredited programmes, such as Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA), on the national qualifications framework. In addition, rapid advances in vehicle technology will be considered, to enable awarding bodies to ‘plug in’ new content and ‘unplug’ redundant topics more easily.

Steve Scofield, head of skills development for the Automotive Skills division, said: “By encouraging businesses to have their say in the development of a fresh qualifications structure, we will ensure the industry has a platform for skills development that is fit for purpose.

“We’re looking for some champions across the whole sector to contribute to this process as it is aimed at improving business efficiency and profitability.”

Employers interested in taking part in the consultations should email sqs@automotiveskills.org.uk to receive further information.

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