In June 2006 Automotive Skills, in partnership with the Chartered Management Institute and Institute of the Motor Industry, redeveloped the Automotive Retail Management Standards (ARMS) programme after a slow take-up by the industry.
Research carried out by the organization revealed that employers felt there was a lack of awareness about the programme and its benefits, and raised objections about its costs.
Automotive Skills was confident the changes – in particular the move to work-based assessment – would see an upturn in demand from franchisees, independents and manufacturers. A promotional campaign was run to improve awareness and help stimulate demand.
Director of policy and development at Automotive Skills William Blacklock says: “Take-up of the full Level 5 qualification stands at around 400-500.
“As a result of consultation we have developed a more bite-sized approach known as Step Into ARMS. After the core modules have been completed, people can choose options to suit their needs.”
ARMS was set up to improve management skills in the retail sector for better performance and profitability. However, too many managers saw it as an academic qualification and were concerned about the amount of time it took.
Automotive Skills has made assessment less academic, focusing instead on on-the-job evaluations. Step Into ARMS will be aimed mainly at new entrants to the industry.
Yet to launch, Step Into ARMS’ national-level sign-off is “imminent”, Blacklock says.