Aimed at technical and sales staff, the part-time course takes place over two years and is aimed at those who have finished their Level Three technical or management qualification.
Professor Jim Saker, Ford chair in automotive retail management at Loughborough University, says: “There is a massive gap when it comes to progression from the shop floor or workshop to management. The foundation degree addresses this issue directly within dealerships.
“We now have a route for 16-year-olds to join the industry and have a structured career development process through to senior management.”
Students studying for the foundation degree take part in a combination of distance, work based and block release sessions at Loughborough College and IMI training centres.
The foundation degree is partly funded by the government and on completition students will receive a Level Four award from the University. Graduates also have the option to continue for a further year and do the BSc in automotive dealership management.
Last year the University’s Centre of Automotive Management developed a BSc degree which is designed to attract sixth-form leavers directly into the motor retail industry as next-generation management.
Students on the block release programme are employed by a dealer who funds their tuition. They spend large periods working within the dealership.