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IMI launches awards scheme for skills

The Institute for the Motor Industry has launched SkillMiles, an awards scheme that give points for supporting training.

The new scheme recognises both financial, time and effort to support training. Businesses can gain four levels of recognition: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

Once a business or individual is registered via the scheme’s web-site ( they can earn SkillMiles points for particular activities, which are given a value by the IMI, such as participation on working groups or loan of equipment, for example, as well as financial donations.

The IMI said the SkillMiles scheme will demonstrate to the Government that employers and individuals in the automotive retail industry are making valuable contributions to skills development.

The initiative will run alongside the IMI’s ongoing 'proud to be professional' campaign, which promotes the importance of best practice and ethical behaviour in improving the reputation of the industry to consumers.

The IMI plans to highlight the SkillMiles scheme at its annual dinner on March 11, at the Café Royal in London.

Steve Nash, aftersales director, BMW Group UK and chairman of the IMI Executive Board, said: “We all carry some accountability for ensuring that our workforce continues to evolve and develop to the benefit of business and its customers.

“The SkillMiles scheme provides a meaningful way of acknowledging efforts and paying tribute to those who are actively making a difference to the industry through their work and commitment to improving performance, many of whom are unsung heroes.”

Terry Barcham, managing director of Snap-on Tools, which has signed up to SkillMiles, said: "It should be apparent to all of us in the automotive business that we have a gap between perception and reality as to how complex, technologically advanced and customer focused the sector has become. SkillMiles will be a powerful component in changing that perception."

The launch of SkillMiles follows a recent commitment from the IMI to boost apprentice numbers by 40,000 across the sector over the next five years. It has reduced its apprenticeship administration charges by 40% and abolished the registration fee of £20, leaving a single fee of £30 per person, payable upon completion of the apprenticeship.

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